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Canada Hill

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View of Miri from Canada Hill
A view of Miri from Canada Hill

Canada Hill is mostly referred to as stretch of elevated land ridge that runs along Miri from North East to South West, from Lopeng to up to Pujut Corner. Located at the top is Miri's first oil well, fondly known as the Grand Old Lady, which was the site where petroleum was first drilled - is now an official landmark, national monument and historical site. The Petroleum Museum is located right next to the oil well monument.

There are several reasons as to how the hill ridge behind Miri was named "Canada Hill" came to be;

One reason was that it was named after the Canadian drillers that stayed there in the early years. In fact, this naming convention based on who or what was staying on it was used for every part of the hill - the road leading up to Well No.1 climbs "Hill 9", so called from the card gambling games of the one-time American drillers living there. Club Hill was so named because of the now-defunct Miri Club that was nearby the Chinese Temple on what is now known as Lopeng. Maori Hill, where New Zealander surveyors stayed, began near St. Columba's School. And finally, Shell Hill, the site of an early house of an Oilfield Company General Manager at the present RTM hill top.

An alternative story is that there was a Canadian who lived on the hill who recruits both foreigners and locals to work in the oil fields.

Yet another explanation for the naming of the ridge was that it was done to honor a Canadian by the name of McAlpine who was assigned to erect the oil well.

Whichever reason - or perhaps a combination of all the above - somehow the name Canada Hill stuck in the minds of most people, and by the end of the 20th century the whole stretch of hill was being referred to as just 'Canada Hill'.

The hill "splits" Miri, from the west (sea side) and east (inland areas), with the western side facing the sea being more developed than the eastern side behind the hill due to logistical difficulties of going around it, and the steep gradients making more access roads to the top impractical - but nowadays there are already several roads paved across the hill bridging the city center to the areas from behind the hill facing inland.

There are also several villages and residential sites on top of and around Canada Hill. Located at the very top is Kampong Lereng Bukit, a village (Kampong). Further south from it is Lopeng at Hainam Road, Hillstone Garden, Lai Pau Garden, Hilltop Garden, Grand Park, Bumiko and Bunga Tanjong residences (by this end the location is at Tanjong Lobang).

The First Rainforest Experience
Canada Hill can be considered a first experience of the rainforest, to anyone who haven't experience it. It is easily accessible, literally right next to town, and is full of natural rainforest fauna growth and pathways within for explorers looking for a quick adventure. About a 10-15 minute walk from any of the major hotels in the city center would reach it, and exploration is quick and cheap. This article is from the web site miriresortcity dot com - this sentence is here to prevent blatant plagarism. The only real hazard is crossing the roads and potential falls from steep paths.

Local legend had it that a cave ran from Tanjong Lobang to Pujut, inhabited in the former days by two ferocious tigers so predatory that, from time to time, a young girl had to be thrown to them to appease their wrath. When the drilling of the first oil well was to take place in 1910, the then Miri populace feared that the well would penetrate the cave and awaken the tigers. This is, of course just a story and there is no record of such sacrifices ever taking place.

Canada Hill has seen some landslides over the years. Recorded landslides occurred in the years 1963 (no exact date or other information), and on 13-Jan-1981 (during which time also resulted in the Lutong floods), that resulted in 4 casualties.

On 16th January 2009, after a particularly wet and heavy rainfall start to the year as a result of heavy rainfall every day since December 2008, a landslide occurred at a section of the hill over a petrol station early in the morning, killing 2 who were staying there. The landslide triggered the alarm at the petrol station which prompted a manager to go over to check, who then called emergency rescue units but was unfortunately too late.

Then a few weeks later on 30th January at about 1:05PM, another landslide on Canada Hill in Miri occurred about a kilmeter away from the last landslide at Kampong Lereng Bukit. In this incident, a smaller landslide occurred before a bigger one and there was sufficient warning and time for everyone to get out of the way. 8 houses and properties were damaged.

Another two landslides occurred on 22nd of January, 2014, when a section on the Padang Kerbau and Lopeng side of the hill facing east, during the particularly heavy rainfall of that year.

The hill has been steadily shrinking over the years not only due to erosion but also land development.


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