Learn more about the structures at Bitumount by clicking on items that light up when you mouse over them. Golden Slipper Golden Slipper Robert Fitzsimmons had a number of boats at Bitumount. The Golden Slipper, an elegant, old-fashioned motor boat, is still there, protected now by a shelter erected sometime before 2006. Robert Fitzsimmons’s House, International Bitumen Company Camp Robert Fitzsimmons’s House, International Bitumen Company Camp When Robert Fitzsimmons was in camp, he lived in relative comfort in a log house with large windows and a garden outside the door. Barge Remains Barge Remains A wide variety of boats and barges came and went from Bitumount. When winter arrived and the river froze, all boats had to be hauled out on land or risk being crushed by the river ice. Several vessels were pulled ashore at Bitumount and never relaunched. The International Bitumen Company Separation Plant The International Bitumen Company Separation Plant Robert Fitzsimmons’s first efforts at oil sands separation were very basic and occurred in the open air on the bank of the Athabasca River. The IBC separation plant was only partially automated. Men worked closely with the machinery as the oil sand, mixed with hot water, moved through the separation process. International Bitumen Company Storage Tanks International Bitumen Company Storage Tanks Several storage tanks of various sizes were added to the International Bitumen Company plant in the 1930s. Most, if not all, were purchased second-hand and brought to the site by railway and then barge. Boat Remains Boat Remains This motor boat was active at Bitumount in the 1940s and can be seen moving barges up and down the Athabasca River in photographs and video footage of the time. Steam Engine Steam Engine Several upright steam engines were brought to Bitumount and used for a variety of purposes, including powering a sawmill, running oil sand separation machinery, and providing power for the camp. The International Bitumen Company Quarry The International Bitumen Company Quarry Oil sand for separation was excavated from the bank of the Athabasca River right next to the IBC plant. A dragline was used to scoop up the oil sand and deposit it on a platform at the top of the plant. Latrines Latrines The 1940s camp had hot and cold running water, but Bitumount never had indoor toilets. Outhouses were located to be convenient to recreation, housing and dining areas of the Alberta Government Oil Sands Project camp. Recreation Huts Recreation Huts Also known as the “Igloos,” three arched buildings—two joined by a breezeway—provided indoor recreational space. Workers gathered to relax or play games in and around these buildings during their free time. Bunk House Bunk House Individual rooms gave workers privacy after hours. The bunk house was centrally heated with steam and had hot and cold running water. In 1948, workers staying in camp were charged $1.50 per day for food and lodging. This did not cover the actual costs but was kept low to help attract workers. Laundry Building Laundry Building A separate building was provided for doing laundry. All the bedding from the camp was cleaned here, and employees could take advantage of the washing service if they wished. Clothing and bedding were hung out to dry on lines next to the laundry building. Staff Houses Staff Houses Management staff could bring their families to live in detached one-room cabins on the east edge of the camp. Without indoor plumbing or cooking facilities, these were clearly not intended for long-term occupation. Garden Garden During the growing season, the garden supplemented the food supply of the Alberta Government Oil Sands Project camp with fresh vegetables. Water Well and Storage Tank Water Well and Storage Tank The Alberta Government Oil Sands Project camp had an extensive water distribution system. It played an important role in making life comfortable and safe. Water was piped to all the major buildings, and there were at least three fire hydrants located around the camp. Dining Hall Dining Hall Good food was key to maintaining staff morale. Everyone in camp came to eat their meals together in the dining hall. The hall was also used when a larger gathering space was required for activities such as the weekly movie night. When the camp was at its busiest, as many as 5,400 meals per month were prepared in addition to bag lunches for shift workers. Office and Laboratory Office and Laboratory All the administrative, communications and scientific functions of the Alberta Government Oil Sands Project took place in this building. The post office, shortwave radio and laboratory were all here. Warehouse and Machine Shop Warehouse and Machine Shop Spare parts and materials were stored in the warehouse, and repairs and fabrication took place in the machine shop. There was also a small store, known as the commissary, where items like stationery and personal supplies were available for purchase at a cost recovery rate. Storage Tank Storage Tank The fuel storage tank for the power house was built of components brought in by barge. Some of the other tanks at the Alberta Government Oil Sands Project were re-used from the International Bitumen Company plant. Power House Power House Maintaining and running the power house was an important job. All the hot water, steam and electricity used by the camp and the plant were generated here. Weigh Scale Weigh Scale Trucks were driven onto the weigh scale and details of their loads recorded before the sand was delivered to the separation plant. Ramp and Hopper Ramp and Hopper Trucks were driven backwards up the 8% grade of the ramp. At the top, the load was dumped into the hopper, where the oil sand was stored until it was needed in the separation plant. Separation Plant Separation Plant Built into the bank of the Athabasca River, the separation plant used gravity to help move the oil sands from the hopper at the top to a separation vessel at the bottom. The oil sands were processed in a closed system, which made for better conditions for the workers than at the International Bitumen Company, where the machinery was exposed and the processing vats were open. Refinery Refinery The refinery at the Alberta Government Oil Sands Project was of the simplest sort, but it did produce oil that could be used as fuel in the power house. Alberta Government Oil Sand Project Quarry Alberta Government Oil Sand Project Quarry Oil sand was excavated from the quarry at the Alberta Government Oil Sands Project site using an excavator and a truck. A bulldozer was on hand to keep the roads in condition and to assist in the quarry. Bitumount Airstrip Bitumount Airstrip In 1948, an airstrip was built a short distance southeast of Bitumount, making it possible for people and small amounts of freight to get in and out of camp at any time of the year. Large cargo—by size or quantity—still had to come by river during the ice-free season. Athabasca River Athabasca River The Athabasca is one of Alberta’s major rivers. It originates in the Rocky Mountains and flows into Lake Athabasca. Rapids block navigation upstream of Fort McMurray, but boats of a good size can travel on the river downstream to Bitumount and beyond. Until very recently, the Athabasca River provided the best way to access Bitumount. Alberta Government Oil Sands Project Landing Alberta Government Oil Sands Project Landing In the 1940s, a reinforced platform that could handle heavy equipment was constructed on the bank of the Athabasca River at Bitumount. It was a short distance upstream of the International Bitumen Company landing. International Bitumen Company Landing International Bitumen Company Landing In the 1930s, the bank of the Athabasca River was reinforced with logs to both protect it from erosion and provide a convenient spot to load and unload boats and barges.