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New ATCO Gas mural celebrates centennial

The ATCO Gas mural by artist Karen Arnett depicts construction of the pipeline that brought natural gas to Fort Macleod in 1912. The mural is now on display in the Devonian Walkway. From left: Mike Shaw of ATCO Gas, Fort Macleod Mayor Shawn Patience and Robin Gaskel of ATCO Gas.

ATCO Gas marked its century-old relationship with Fort Macleod with two gifts.
The company made a $2,500 donation to the Empress Theatre, which is also celebrating its centennial in 2012.
Last week ATCO Gas unveiled its new mural in the Devonian Walkway.
“Early residents of Fort Macleod were among the first Albertans to set a new standard of living by heating their homes and warming their community with natural gas. ATCO Gas senior vice-president Bill Stephens said.
In 1912 Macleod, Granum, Claresholm, Brooks, Lethbridge, Nanton, Okotoks and Calgary became the first customers of Canadian Western Natural Gas, Light, Heat and Power Co. Ltd.
Stephens said as the earliest customers of the company that became ATCO Gas, those communities have a special place in the company’s history.
The discovery in 1909 of Old Glory, a natural gas well near Bow Island, made it possible to use natural gas to heat homes across southern Alberta.
Canadian Western Natural Gas, Light, Heat and Power Co. built a 270-kilometre 16-inch pipeline to Calgary from Bow Island — the longest natural gas pipeline in Canada at the time.
“A century ago, the citizens of Fort Macleod voted to embrace natural gas as a cleaner source of fuel for home heating and cooking and we’re proud to be one of the first communities to do so,” Fort Macleod Mayor Shawn Patience said.
“ATCO Gas has been a great corporate citizen over the last century and we are very pleased to receive this generous donation.”
ATCO Gas serves more than one million customers in close to 300 Alberta communities and is part of the ATCO Group of Companies.
The ATCO Group has more than 8,800 employees and assets of about $13-billion.

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4 Comments For This Post

  1. bruce Says:

    Love the idea of Public Art – Don’t love the idea of a Gas Company dictatinig the artwork. If you look close, heck you don’t have to look close, if you just look you can see Natural Gas on the front page of the newspaper. Pretty slick idea ATCO…NOT! If this were to be done the proper way, ATCO would have donated the money, given the artist free will do do as they want. Then ATCO could have a sign beside it saying they sponsored it. But that would be too risky….and besides, there’s something warm and fuzzy about privitizing culture……So sad, what a miss!

  2. Tracey Says:

    Oh please Bruce!!!
    If not for big companies like ATCO gas, who employ locals from this town, fort macleod would not exist!!!

  3. Gordon Says:

    The mural tells the “untold” story of those “pioneers” in Fort Macleod that were the FIRST of eight communities in Alberta to welcome natural gas into their community, into their homes 100 years ago. A claim to fame in Alberta’s history for Fort Macleod that nobody knew about… Perhaps this is the first of more murals for the walkway…? Certainly that would be nice to see and a boost to Fort Macleod’s tourism attraction potential… just sayin’.

  4. Bruce Says:


    I agree that without ATCO MANY communities in Alberta would not be what they are, but then call this project what it is, it’s advertising, NOT ART.