Canada's oil sands at 50: How much life is left in the resource?

On Sept. 30, 1967, the Great Canadian Oil Sands facility opened north of Fort McMurray, Alta., with much fanfare, bunting and speeches by politicians.

It was the first large-scale commercial operation of the oilsands, and the result of a gamble taken by Philadelphia's Sun Oil and its chief executive, J. Howard Pew, and by 100,000 Alberta households who invested $1,500 each to buy a bond to fund construction of the facility.

Alberta's premier at the time, Ernest Manning, stood on a podium and declared, "This is a historic day for the province of Alberta, and it is fitting that we are here today to dedicate this plant not merely to the production of oil, but to the continual progress and enrichment of mankind."

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