Last week I had the tremendous opportunity to visit Fort McMurray, and the fascinating work being done at the Oil Sands.
Imagine a small town of 5,000 or so suddenly swelling to over 70,000 – without the infrastructure to support it. That will give you a bit of an idea of Fort McMurray. A large number of its population are migrant workers who have come in to work in the high-paying oil sands jobs. There are far more jobs than there are people, and it’s tough for employers to be really picky when they hire. The customer service levels reflect this to a certain degree. No one is rude – that’s not the Alberta mentality – but you’re not likely to have a lot of WOW moments.
Having said that, a group of us went to Earl’s restaurant for dinner one evening, and the waitress – all of the servers, in fact – was spectacular. She was attentive, friendly, and engaging. It really was a great experience, and a real highlight to our visit.