Canadian Heritage

Historical Vignettes

Working in the Forest: a Strenuous Routine

The loggers' routine is unenviable at that time. The men work hard in the snow and the cold, six days out of seven, and towards the end of the 19th Century, they earn between 20$ and 30$ per month. The lumberjacks share their routines in log cabins, owned by individuals or forest companies. They are entitled to a very limited menu consisting of salted meat, smoked fish, beans, soups, breads and pastries, prepared by one or more cooks who must improvise recipes with a relatively limited list of ingredients.8

Sunday, which is the only day of rest for the loggers, offers them the chance to do their wash, take care of their correspondence, walk in the forest, play cards, listen to music, share their achievements of the week, and sometimes even listen to a storyteller relate incredible stories and legends (see historical vignette # 10). However, it seems that "the pleasures of forest life are. found rather in the labor performed than the recreation enjoyed."9

The log drive

The Saint John River and its tributaries prove to be a major asset for the area, in agriculture as well as in forestry. To get the picture, one could pretend that these rivers constituted the blood system of the forest industry in growth.