Where it all began

Suncor pioneered development in the oil sands—but it wasn't easy. It took a bold vision, perseverance, and, above all, people with strength, energy, determination, and commitment.  

Over hundreds of millions of years, the earth's oceans teemed with life. Organic debris was buried, then pressed, heated, and chemically altered to form hydrocarbons. The oil sands were among those ancient deposits. They were eventually exposed by erosion and the work of rivers like the Clearwater and Athabasca.  

For countless generations, Indigenous Peoples in the Wood Buffalo Region used the thick oil sands substance to make their canoes waterproof. But it was the emergence of the automobile and the world's need for petroleum that stimulated the development of Alberta's oil sand deposits.  

Making the most of limitless opportunities and possibilities has made Suncor what it is today. It all started in 1953 when Sun Oil acquired an oil sands lease and established the Great Canadian Oil Sands Company (GCOS).  

The construction of a test plant began in 1963. By 1964, development was underway to build a facility that would produce 31,500 barrels of oil per day, with a whopping price tag of 240 million dollars. It was, at the time, the single most significant private investment in the country, as well as the biggest gamble in Canadian history. At last, on September 30, 1967, the plant was officially open for business. 

Watch this video to learn more about how Suncor came to be.