Oil Springs and This Year’s International Conference on Oil’s Industrial Heritage


The pandemic has left us scratching our heads as we help plan this year’s international conference on the global heritage of the oil industry. We feel this conference is key to bolstering Oil Springs’ case to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site when Oil Springs next applies.

The conference is being organized by The International Committee for the Conservation of Industrial Heritage (TICCIH). It’s an influential group that provides technical expertise to UNESCO World Heritage, based in Paris.

Leading up to the conference, TICCIH conducted an exhaustive study assessing oil sites around the world, aiming to identify their industrial heritage value. Oil Springs is one of the 10 cases studies in the study.

The conference centres on the study with a planned tour of Fairbank Oil Fields to see our complete operating systems of oil technology from the 1860s. Touring the Oil Museum of Canada in Oil Springs is also to be part of the tour.

The study, written by TICCIH’s James Douet, has been circulated around the globe among heritage professionals. Now, we have permission to carry the study on our website: click here

Last March we had to postpone the conference that was to be held in Oil Springs and Sarnia in May. Now, we are working with organizers looking to reschedule in August. What form it will take is yet unknown.

In 2017, Fairbank Oil and the county-run Oil Museum of Canada jointly applied for Canada’s Tentative List to be considered for World Heritage. Though unsuccessful in 2017, Oil Springs will apply again.