Initially I thought it was a joke but it turns out the rumours are true....the Oil Sands Hotel is closing its doors for good in the coming days. In a city so full of rapid change, the Oil Sands has been around for awhile...since the 1930's as a matter of fact.
The Oil Can actually contains a number of businesses. Along with the hotel itself there is also the Oil Can Tavern, Diggers (a club) and Teasers (a strip club). While the business is often the focus of media who wish to highlight a seedier side to the city (like Fort McMurray is the only city in Canada with a bar and a strip club), it has been a mainstay here for decades and I'm sure there are many who hold fond memories of a place to unwind after a long work day. Sure, it's a bar but it still holds a place in local memory. I can't say I've ever patronized the place myself but it's always a bit sad when a piece of history slips away.
As it turns out, the building next to it contains Campbell's Music, another local business which has been here for something like 40 years. As a child of small business owners, I can appreciate more than most perhaps the challenges facing businesses trying to make a go here.
From what I've heard the building will be torn down, although there seems to be some speculation as to what will be put up in its place. More office space, a pubic square and downtown parking......these are just some of the things I've heard. Time will tell.