Canadian Heritage

Historical Vignettes

Working in the Mill: From the Forest to the City

He tells of rugged work conditions, salaries of 75¢ an hour that went down to 27¢ an hour and the ten-hour work days following the First War, a situation, he described, that lasted until after the crisis of the 1930s.9

Despite this, the people built their own homes and raised large families. (...) With stable positions, like a job in the Wood Room, for example, or in other departments, the future seemed to worry people less then than it does in these modern times. The labourer seemed happy, once he reasonably became settled with his family. It is a fact to say that you had to be one of them to understand this.10

The economic crisis of the 1930s affected all sectors for almost a dozen years. Fraser Mill experienced an important reorganization at the administrative level that also affected production. "When the weekend arrived, the boss, not knowing if the mill would operate, would tell the men, 'Come see me Monday morning' ".11