Cambria Publishing
mining songs, music, photographs Lawrence Chrismas
Alberta Oilpatch Gallery
Bill Bird - Retired Oil Sands Worker

I was born right here in Fort McMurray, and so was my dad. He was a river boat captain, and never got involved in mining because he spent all his life on the river. When I started out, I spent six summers on the river and I couldn't see myself spending the rest of my life doing that. So I got out of it real quick-like. That didn't sit too well with my father because he wanted me to follow along behind him.

The rest of my life, I've been driving trucks and running equipment - that's all I've ever done. In 1964, I was living in Yellowknife and working underground at the Giant Gold Mine. But that's when they started building Suncor, and so I moved back to Fort McMurray. In fact, I was the first driver on the job - my number was #1. I worked those years for Bechtel - never officially for Suncor. The Suncor mine opened in 1967, and I've worked continuously at the Syncrude site since it started in about 1973. We were part of the crazy early days of the Fort McMurray construction boom.

My wife still works as a secretary for Syncrude out at the mine, but she's thinking of early retirement. As for myself, I usually get up in the morning and go down to the golf course. I'm getting right into golf. My handicap is down to 15, my best score is 80. I want to par that course one day - it'll probably never happen, but I like to think it could.