Fonds F2935 - Imperial Oil Limited fonds

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Imperial Oil Limited fonds


  • 1860-2014, predominant 1880s-1980s (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

260 m of textual records.
30 m of photographs.
550 sound recordings.
527 television commercials.
1700 video recordings

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Imperial Oil Company Limited was incorporated in 1880 (its name changed to Imperial Oil Limited in 1919). Initially a refining and distribution company, it expanded into oil production, exploration, marketing and related activities. It was the first substantial oil company to develop out of the oil fields of southwestern Ontario and its main competition came from the American company, Standard Oil, which purchased Imperial Oil in 1898.

Despite its origins and head office in Ontario, Imperial Oil's exploration activities were predominantly in western and northern Canada. It opened the Leduc field in 1947, launching Alberta's second oil boom (after Turner Valley, where it participated through a subsidiary, Royalite Oil Company). It discovered and refined oil at Norman Wells, NWT from 1922 and participated in the wartime exploitation of the field during the Second World War, supplying the Canol Pipeline and Whitehorse Refinery from 1943. Since then, it has made major investments in high Arctic exploration and development. It is also a significant participant in heavy oil extraction, both in the Athabasca oil sand (through Syncrude) and the Cold Lake heavy oil production field.

The company developed refining operations and a chain of service stations (retail, bulk, rail, marine and aviation) across the country. It developed an international exploration company, International Petroleum, active primarily in Latin America, including Colombia and Peru. Numerous other subsidiaries have been formed to operate in business sectors related to its primary oil business, including transportation (pipeline and marine tankers), natural gas production, petrochemical products (twine, containers, fertilizers, building materials), land development, home heating, travel support (highway restaurants, etc.). It has acquired several companies, including Texaco Canada and Mobil Oil. Imperial Oil is also a major investor in related companies, primarily pipelines.


Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gift of Imperial Oil Limited, 2006.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records documenting all aspects of the operations of Imperial Oil Limited and includes the corporate records, photographs, publications, sound recordings, television commercials and videotape collection. Also includes records of Texaco Canada Limited and other subsidiary and affliliated companies.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


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Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Minutes of the Board of Directors of Imperial and all Board committees are closed for 40 years from the date of creation.

Records of the Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, President and Senior Vice-Presidents of Imperial are closed for 40 years from date of creation.

Records of Imperial’s Management Committee are closed for 60 years from date of creation; access can only be granted by written application and subsequent approval by the Vice-President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Imperial Oil.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Most of the material is in English with some in French.

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Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Digital content is available

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Title based on contents of records.

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Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Thursday, September 28, 2017




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