The timber trade
I’m ready to go. My name is Charles Grégoire and I’m leaving to go work in the lumber camp for the winter. I am a lumberjack during the winter and a farmer the rest of the year.
Being a lumberjack is hard work. First you have to cut down trees in the forest, particularly pines and oaks, and remove the branches. Then the trees have to be transformed as needed either by leaving them as such to make masts or by squaring them; that is to say, removing the sides to make the trunk square.
In the spring when the rivers thaw, the trees are floated down streams to the St. Lawrence River. Once there, logs are tied together to make rafts to make them easier to transport to Québec City.
Once the trees are in Québec City, some will go to mills where they will be turned into planks for lumber. The bulk of the timber will end up in the hold of a ship headed for Great Britain.
Video narration available in French at
From 1803 to 1815, Britain and France were at war. Napoleon, the Emperor of France, imposed a “continental blockade” against Great Britain in 1806 to prevent all trade with the rest of Europe until the end of the war. So Britain got its wood supplies in Canada during this time. What’s more, it needed a lot of wood to build warships. This situation greatly stimulated the wood industry, which was quickly becoming Canada’s biggest industry.
Over here, we’re glad about this. Thanks to the timber trade, the economy of the colony is improving. There are even new regions being developed due to the timber trade. In fact, people are talking more and more about the Saguenay River; maybe I will go settle there one day.
Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social
See also – Traces of the past: