Fairbank Oil Fields - Historic Places Days

Fairbank Oil Fields

Oil Springs, Ontario
2558 Duryee Street, Oil Springs, ON, Canada
Get directions
July 6th 11:00am to 4:30pm

Before oil was developed in Pennsylvania, Texas, the Middle East or Alberta, the Canadian boom town of Oil Springs, Ontario burst into existence.

In 1858, James Miller Williams carved his name in history when he dug a well, produced oil, crudely refined it, barreled it and marketed it as “illuminating oil” for lamps. Prior to 1858, he was distilling the bitumen of Oil Springs for lamp oil. A surveyor named John Henry Fairbank stumbled onto the fevered scene and in 1861 dug his first well.

That was 158 years ago and the family has been continuously pumping oil here through four generations. Fairbank Oil Fields is much more than just the site of Canada’s first gusher of the Shaw Well in 1862.

Today, it still operates a complete system of pumping oil using the authentic technology of the 1860s. This is unique in the world, and we believe Oil Springs meets all the criteria to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

History happened here. Ingenious technologies developed here and the International Drillers (Foreign Drillers) took their expertise, tools and technology to 86 countries around the globe to open new oil fields. The significance of Oil Spring, Canada spread far and wide.

Though most drilling was done here more than 100 years ago, Fairbank Oil Fields produces about 24,000 barrels of oil annually has been supplying Imperial Oil with crude for nearly 140 years.


  • Family-Friendly
  • National Historic Site
  • Parking


2558 Duryee Street, Oil Springs, ON, Canada
Get directions

Nearby Places

Oil Museum of Canada

Oil Springs, Ontario
Oil Museum of Canada, site of the first commercial oil well in North America.
View Place | Get Directions

Petrolia Discovery

Petrolia, Ontario
1860’s Oil Field History in Action
View Place | Get Directions

Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site

Dresden, Ontario
Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site recognizes the accomplishments of Josiah Henson
View Place | Get Directions

Moore Museum

Mooretown, Ontario
Community museum with 12 historic and exhibit buildings.
View Place | Get Directions

Popular VisitLists Including "Fairbank Oil Fields"

Going Deep into Southern Ontario

Windsor, Ontario to Amherstburg, Ontario 5 places
Southern Ontario sites that reflect the bravery, innovation and perseverance of its people
View VisitList

Oil Heritage District

Petrolia, Ontario to Oil Springs, Ontario 3 places
Canadian oil industry started right here in Ontario.
View VisitList

Register A Place

Create an account to add your historic place.

Make a VisitList

Welcome! To get started on a VisitList, you’ll need to have an account with #HistoricPlacesDays.

Already have an account? to sign in.
We use your contact information to process your registration and correspond with you about the National Trust and its programs. You can unsubscribe at any time. We care about your privacy. Read our privacy statement.

Sign In

Sites that participate in #HistoricPlacesDays need to have an account.

Welcome! To get started on a new VisitList or to edit an existing one, you’ll need to have an account with #HistoricPlacesDays. Sign in below!

Not registered? Click here to create an account.

Forgot Password

Enter your email address to request a password reset.

to sign in.

Get the latest scoop on everything #HistoricPlacesDays – join our e-newsletter and never miss a beat.