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A day in Fort McMurray: Upgraded trucks, million-dollar homes and bitumen paintings Add to ...

Canada has staked its future on the oil sands. In November, Report on Business magazine together with Thomson Reuters examine what that means both at home and abroad. Read more from the issue at tgam.ca/oil.

A typical day in Fort McMurray — the city of 77,000 where the median age is 31 years old. Life revolves around work, family, religion and blowing off steam at the end of a long day.

8:41 a.m.
An aerial view of Fort McMurray, which has a population of roughly 77,000 up from just 2,500 in the late 1960s.

9:51 a.m.
Fort McMurray-based realtor Sharon Heading in the city's booming Timberlea suburb.

10:41 a.m.
Mechanic Jerome Grenier works on a client's vehicle at the MXC custom truck shop downtown. Lifted, customized pickup trucks are a common sight on the streets of Fort Mac—it's not unusual for an oil worker to buy a $60,000 truck and then put another $50,000 worth of upgrades into it.

11:59 a.m.
A man checks his post office box in downtown Fort Mac. At one time, Canada Post was going to impose a $5 fee for all packages coming into town, since so many residents were shopping online so frequently, and the post office was struggling to keep up. Residents fought back, and Canada Post eventually scrapped the idea.

12:19 p.m.
Randy Kostick spends lunchtime at Fort Mac's Kozy Korner diner during his day off from working at Suncor.

12:45 p.m.
Jordan Marshall buys clothing for work at Mark's in downtown Fort McMurray. Marshall is from Victoria, B.C., and works for both Imperial Oil and Syncrude.

2:25 p.m.
Fort McMurray's lone mosque was built back in 1989 to accommodate just 250 worshippers — which means Friday prayers for these Muslims are held at Holy Trinity Catholic School in Timberlea.

2:56 p.m.
Kashif Hussain, a quality assurance manager for Suncor (with his daughter, Noor), is one of more than 10,000 Muslims who have settled in Fort McMurray in the past two decades.

3:01 p.m.
More and more high-end houses are springing up around Fort Mac. This neoclassical pile in the suburb of Thickwood has a price tag of more than a $1 million.

4:06 p.m.
People board a flight to Toronto at the new airport in Fort McMurray. YYM, as it's called, is the fastest growing airport in Canada.

4:16 p.m.
A WestJet plane waits on the tarmac at Fort McMurray International Airport, which served nearly 1.2 million passengers in 2013.

4:30 p.m.
Pat and Bill Lees with their grandson Austin, whose dad works in the oil sands, outside the Giants of Mining tourist attraction in Fort McMurray.

4:45 p.m.
Kevin Thornton picks up his son Ian, 5, from daycare in Timberlea. Daycare costs between $800 and $1,200 a month here in Fort McMurray. Kevin works at Keyano College and his wife, Brooke, works for Syncrude.

4:49 p.m.
Children romp in a playground at a Suncor Community Leisure Centre downtown.

5:24 p.m.
A muslim woman walks past a tractor trailer loaded with heavy-equipment tires.

6:45 p.m.
Lucas Seaward is a local artist who makes intricate paintings from bitumen and has been successful selling his work in Fort McMurray. Here, Seaward works on a new piece in his studio—he must wear protective equipment to paint with bitumen because of the toxic fumes it emits.

7:37 p.m.
A bagpiper plays at the retirement party for firefighter John Toplinski. After a 38-year career in Fort McMurray, Toplinski was the longest-serving firefighter in the history of the department.

7:46 p.m.
Syncrude employee Dennis Kaschev, 25, and his partner, Ericah Colbourne, 20, shop for a new sofa — and possibly a television — at The Brick in downtown Fort McMurray.

7:56 p.m.
Makenna and Mia Biggin (aged 7 and 3) climb into their father’s custom-built truck in Timberlea, one of the largest residential sections in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort Mac.

8:32 p.m.
Houses in the seven-year-old Timberlea development fetch an average of $675,195.

10:05 p.m.
RCMP officers detain a group of people behind the Boomtown Casino on a Saturday night.

10:25 p.m.
Another busy Saturday night in downtown Fort Mac for members of the local RCMP detachment.

10:26 p.m.
RCMP offices find cocaine, marijuana and a vaporizer inside the purse of a woman who was hospitalized after reportedly taking a bad batch of MDMA at a party in Fort McMurray.

1.39 a.m.
It's last call at the "Black and White I Love Oil Sands" party, held at the Wood Buffalo Brewing Co. on September 20.

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