Skip to main content
Fort Mac

JEFF McINTOSH/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Peter Power for The Globe and Mail

Peter Scowen/The Globe and Mail

Peter Power for The Globe and Mail

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

RCMP Const. Tiffany Miller shares a laugh with students of the English for Skilled Immigrants program, Yan Jin, centre left, Mehar Halepola, right and instructor Sandra Bessey, in Fort McMurray, Alta. The course opens the door on Canadian customs and culture through everyday events for doctors, lawyers, and engineers who have travelled to Fort McMurray from across the world.Carl Patzel/The Canadian Press

It's been a year since The Globe and Mail set up house in Fort McMurray. While we set out to examine the effects on the town of getting incredibly wealthy, populous and diverse in a very short time, we arrived just as world oil prices started to sink. Instead, we found ourselves writing about a community that was steeling itself against job losses but also optimistic about outliving the boom-bust cycle by relying on its tenacity, its youth and its spirit of hope – all the things that had brought people from all over the world to this former fur-trading outpost.

From the librarian who re-invented herself as a leading lady in Cabaret, to the men and women of diverse Muslim cultures united in their dream of building a new mosque, to the Filipina woman who went from nanny to haul-truck driver, Fort McMurray showed us a richness that went beyond the value of the crude oil buried in the sands that had previously defined it.

Here's a look at some of the highlights:

From boom town to family town: Meet the real Fort McMurray Forget oil prices or the environment – the real tension in a maturing Fort McMurray, Peter Scowen finds, is between newcomers looking to cash in and move on and residents who want to build something that lasts.
Success eludes recent migrants as Fort McMurray braces for TFW fallout For more than a decade, migrant workers have kept Alberta communities such as Fort McMurray humming, but new temporary worker rules and plummeting crude prices are in step with the shedding of staff. Colin Freeze reports.
Long-promised helipad for Fort McMurray hospital mired in delays As plans stall and are reassessed, Renata D’Aliesio reports, physician and transportation officials claim problems in getting patients to the city’s health centre have resulted in deaths.
Oil slump hits Fort McMurray’s housing market As Brent Jang reports, rents are dropping and the local economy is sagging as laid-off workers seek jobs elsewhere.
Maturing Fort McMurray prepares for inevitable confrontation with death It has long been common for those who die in Fort McMurray to be buried elsewhere, Dakshana Bascaramurty finds, but with a soaring population, the municipality has had to reconsider how it deals with death.

An ocean of sand: Alberta’s hidden dunes Guide Jordon Huppie takes us on a tour of sand dunes that can be found in a small corner of Northeastern Alberta

2:27