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ATCO marks milestone with community event

Atco Gas drilling crew 1912

The drilling crew that brought in Old Glory poses with the founder of Canadian Western Natural Gas. From left: W.R. Martin, H. Gloyd, Eugene Coste, G.W. Green and A.P. Phillips.

ATCO Gas is celebrating 100 years of providing safe, reliable natural gas service to Albertans.
In 1912, ATCO Gas first provided natural gas to customers in southern Alberta in eight communities along the Bow Island to Calgary pipeline including Fort Macleod.
“ATCO Gas is an integral member of the communities it serves and has been an important contributor to the economic development of this province.” ATCO senior vice-president and general manager Bill Stephens said.
A lighting ceremony on July 17, 1912 signalled the completion of a 270-kilometre natural gas pipeline.
The agreement between the Town of Fort Macleod and the Canadian Western Natural Gas, Light, Heat and Power Company for the Bow Island pipeline to pass through Fort Macleod was signed Jan. 27, 1912.
However, gas service was not started in the town until early 1913, with rates set at 35 cents per 1000 cubic feet.
Fort Macleod was the sixth town to join the Canadian Western gas system, following Lethbridge, Calgary, Nanton, Okotoks, and Brooks. Granum and Claresholm were the other communities.
To mark this milestone, ATCO Gas has planned a variety of exciting community events across the province this summer.
ATCO Gas’s 100 Days of Summer Tour will visit Fort Macleod on Tuesday, Aug. 28 and Granum on Wednesday, Aug. 29.
The celebration tour features a free barbecue, children’s activities, giveaways and refreshments from the ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen.
The celebration in Fort Macleod begins with a presentation to the Town of Fort Macleod by ATCO at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the ATCO office on Main Street.
A legacy gift will be given to the eight communities along the original Bow Island to Calgary pipeline that first received natural gas service in 1912.
At 5 p.m. a free community barbecue takes place at the ATCO Gas office featuring refreshments from the ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen, children’s activities and the ATCO Energy Education Mobile.
A free vaudeville-style live theatre show titled “He’s Got the Pipes,” which tells the history of natural gas service in Alberta, gets under way at 6 p.m. at the Empress Theatre.
ATCO Gas customers can enter on-line at to win one of five Heat Your Home for a Year prizes and much more. Customers are also invited to share their stories of how natural gas has helped to change life for their family or community.
As an Alberta-based, province-wide natural gas distribution company, ATCO Gas serves more than one million customers in nearly 300 Alberta communities.
In the early days, Albertans were served by two companies.
By 1913, the first natural gas delivery company, Canadian Western Natural Gas was serving about 6,400 customers between Lethbridge and Calgary.
In 1923, Edmonton area residents began using natural gas for heating and cooking, courtesy of Northwestern Utilities Ltd.
In 1980, ATCO Ltd. acquired controlling interest in Canadian Utilities, parent company to Canadian Western Natural Gas and Northwestern Utilities Ltd. and in 1998 they were reorganized into ATCO Gas and Pipelines.

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