Some choice quotes:
With oil prices high again, Alberta is hopping once more — but with a twist. The skyline of Calgary, the business center of the province, is about to be altered by a large real estate project, and a big new jet runway to handle the influx of oil workers is already in place. While poker is still popular, conspicuous consumption these days includes such costly indulgences as white truffles and Mercedes-Benz convertibles.
In Fort McMurray, the town closest to the oil sands, truck and bulldozer drivers come from as far away as Newfoundland and Labrador to earn six-figure salaries. They are buying up expensive pickup trucks as if they were toys.
The town's population has increased to 61,000, from 33,000 in 1996, and housing is in such short supply that the average mobile home now sells for $277,000 Canadian dollars ($237,000) and couches are renting for about 500 Canadian dollars a month ($428).
Restaurants, wine stores, art galleries and luxury car dealers are doing frenzied business. At a benefit auction earlier this month, one bidder paid more than 13,000 Canadian dollars ($11,120) to go fly-fishing on a local river with Ron A. Brenneman, president and chief executive of Petro-Canada. "I don't see any black clouds on the horizon," Mr. Brenneman said with a smile.