Canadian Heritage

Historical Vignettes

Working in the Mill: From the Forest to the City

The workers then saw many of their coworkers leave for the front during the Second World War. The ones who stayed behind went through bumpy times - reduction in salaries, scarcity of materials, and even blackouts in case of bombardments. On the other hand, they were entitled to better conditions after the War; they benefited from a pension plan12, the establishment of shifts, and the arrival of the forty-hour week. The creation of the Woodhandling Mutual Interest Board would also contribute to better relations between the employer and the employees.13

Life in the mill would become the reality of many citizens of Edmundston, even still in this day and age. 'The old Wood Room', as described by worker Oneil Couturier, and the author himself, are no longer part of Edmundston's landscape. The old Wood Room was demolished in 1970 to be rebuilt at the leading edge of progress of the time. «That is why the old Wood Room only exists in our memories now, in the memories of those who spent their lives there, such as it is the case for the author of these lines.»14 Oneil Couturier passed away a couple of years ago, leaving behind an amazing piece of history to discover and cherish.

In fact, certain employees worked there for 20, 30, and even 40 years, always having one and the same motto, "Keep the mill going"15, a motto that was respected because Fraser Papers, which saw its share of gains and losses throughout the years, is still present in the region.