Canada and trees – the early 20th century (pt. 2)

I’m going to skip right in to this post, so if you didn’t read the previous section you can do so here.

New Brunswick

On climate: “The snowfall varies in different parts of the Province from two to six or more feet in depth, which, when frozen, makes not only excellent roads for sleighing, but is of inestimable value for those engaged in getting timber out of the woods.

On agriculture: “The possibilities of the Province as a fruit-growing district are being more and more realised, and horticulture may be said to be only in its infancy. It has been demonstrated that the soil and climate in the St. John Valley will produce apples second to none grown in any part of the world; and this statement applies also to the smaller fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries, etc. Several kinds of plums do well.

New Brunswick Canada farming landscape 1930
A farming scene in the Province of New Brunswick.

On lumbering: “Of the forest lands of New Brunswick approximately 7,500,000 acres are owned by the Crown, and 4,500,000 acres by private owners. The timber from these lands is of many kinds, the chief of which are spruce, fir, birch, cedar, maple, pine, beech, and hemlock, with many other less common varieties. The manufacture of these woods into sawn timber, laths, shingles, pulpwood, poles, railway sleepers, and so forth, finds employment for a very large number of mills, and their total annual output is valued at about $30,000,000 (£6,000,000). The annual revenue of the Province derived from stumpage, bonuses, and ground rents is approximately one million dollars.


On agriculture: “Apple, plums, and melons are produced in large quantities, together with many varieties of small fruits. Over $3,600,000 (£720,000) is realized annually from the maple trees in sugar and syrup.

Lumbering felling Canada Quebec 1930
The maple syrup and maple sugar industry is a profitable one in the Province of Quebec. The trees are tapped about the end of March.

On lumbering: “Next in importance to agriculture and manufacturing in Quebec is the lumber trade. In the north the predominating trees are spruce, fir, and other evergreen varieties, while further south appear maple, poplar, basswood, oak, and elm trees, with many other hardwoods. A large part of the timber is cut for the purpose of being manufactured into pulp, and subsequently into paper. Large pulp and paper mills have been erected at several points in the Province. The value of the lumber cut including pulpwood in Quebec amounts annually to over $64,770,000 (£12,954,000).”


On agriculture: “In the Niagara fruit belt Ontario possesses one of the most beautiful and fertile fruit-growing districts in the British Empire. Here peaches and grapes are grown extensively in the open air, and cherries, apples, plums, pears, and small fruits yield bountiful crops. Electric railways radiate in all directions, linking up the orchards with the cities. Probably nowhere else in the Empire are scientific cultivation, exceptional soil and climate, easy transit, co-operative marketing, and near-by markets, found in such favourable combination as in this section of the Province, where the highly specialized industry of fruit growing and market gardening has reached such a stage of development.”

Ontario Canada dairy farm 1930
Dairying is an important industry in Ontario. Some of the best herds in North America are to be found on the farms of the Province.

On lumbering: “Though Quebec has larger untouched timber areas, the lumbering industry of Ontario exceeds that of any other portion of Canada. The forest lands are estimated at 102,000 square miles, a territory equal in size to one-half of France. Nowhere else on the continent are found such great areas of white pine, and of almost equal value, in the marketing of pulpwood, are the magnificent spruce and poplar trees which occupy large districts of Northern Ontario. The total amount of red and white pine still standing on lands belonging to the Province is estimated at over 12,000,000,000 feet, while there are more than 350,000,000 cords of pulpwood on lands still in the hands of the Government. “The quantity of pulp available is past calculation”. One of the largest pulp mills in the world is in operation at Sault Ste. Marie, and several other almost equally large are scattered over the northern section. The numerous rivers throughout the lumbering district are of great help to the lumberman in floating the logs to the sawmills, located at convenient points.

Ontario fruit district country road 1930
A Country Road in one of the Fruit Districts in Ontario.

There are many other valuable trees besides those already mentioned; oak, beech, maple, elm, and basswood are plentiful. The most important lumbering districts are on the Upper Ottawa, west of Lake Superior, and north of Georgian Bay. Finished lumber is exported all over the world.

Fruit picking orchard Ontario Canada 1930
When it’s fruit picking time in the Ontario Orchards, girls find pleasant and healthful employment.

Hasty clearing of the land for farming, and forest fires, have caused great destruction of timber, but the Provincial Government is awake to the necessity of forest protection and reforesting. A fire-patrol service is helping to protect the forests. Five areas, totally 17,860 square miles, have been set apart as reserves for timber conservation and the preservation of the water supply. In addition, Algonquin Park, with an area of 2,000 square miles, contains uncut timber of great value.

Source: Anon. (1930) Canada: Descriptive Atlas. Canada: Houses of Parliament.

Canada and trees – the early 20th century (pt. 2)

2 thoughts on “Canada and trees – the early 20th century (pt. 2)

  1. Ben Morgan says:

    Having lived and worked within Ontario in the fields of Arboriculture and Landscape Architecture, reading this and other relevant history makes me so sad for the province and for the country. So much of their natural resources were plundered and the land left desolate and barren. the real tragedy though is that this mentality continues to the current day. When any new development is drawn up the very first thing they will do in Ontario is completely strip the land removing all trees and physical features as far as possible and then design what they want a plant a few token trees for shade in the parking lots or around the site fringes within pocket parks. This mentality is why, when I was there a Canadian colleague came in one morning rejoicing because a 100yr old oak had been found in a woodlot near where he lived… He was somewhat more subdued when I pointed out that my home town in the UK has 2-300yr old oaks on every street, and yew trees more than 1000yrs old in our churchyards. If they would allow their natural stock to recover and would actively plant a more diverse range of species they could see a massive change in their woodland and forests, but they were left a mental legacy of seeing trees as a timber crop rather than an ecological resource.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s