“Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees,
On this glad day.
Bless Thou each student band
O’er all our happy land:
Teach them Thy love’s command,
Great God, we pray.”
-"Class Day Tree" 
By 1850, almost all Southern Ontario forests had been cleared, largely as a result of agricultural expansion and timber exploitation by new settlers. Upper Canadian homesteaders had to burn the underbrush of their land, cut down trees, and remove rotten stumps to make way for productive farmland. Southern Ontario's landscape, once lush with forest vegetation, was forever changed. Today, further changes are ongoing. Land is being paved over for housing, strip malls, and parking lots. These changes make it hard to imagine what it would have looked like 200 years or more ago: large forests thick with trees and teeming with animals. In the late nineteenth century, some settlers began to take issue with the vast changes to the landscape. Many began to consider ideas of civic beautification and initiatives to plant trees, flowers, and shrubs in an effort to recapture some of the lost beauty. One such initiative was Arbor Day.
Arbor Day was established in Nebraska in 1872. Very shortly after it became popular in other states as well as in Canadian provinces. In 1884, citizens of New Brunswick organized a campaign on Arbor Day, where they landscaped five original town squares in Charlottetown. Quebec began celebrating Arbor Day in 1883. In 1885, Ontario's Education Minister declared Arbor Day a school holiday, so that the time could be devoted to improving and beautifying school grounds through planting flowers, trees, and shrubs. He stated that "the condition of the school grounds throughout the Province is anything but complimentary to our taste and tidiness as a people."
Each year school children throughout Ontario had one day off in May to help their teachers beautify school grounds. One teacher, who penned her name as "Girl with the Apron" wrote into the Globe in 1912, detailing how her class spent the holiday. She asked students to bring seeds into class; the response was overwhelming. They spent the day planting nasturtiums, dahlias, hollyhock, gourds, morning glories, asters, poppies, and sweet Williams. She stated, perhaps in a tongue-in-cheek manner: "the arrangements, I'm afraid is utterly contrary to the Ladies Home Journal's ideas of proper color massing. But we'll hope the violent contrasts aren't in blossom at the same time." At the end of the day her class accompanied her on a walk through a nearby forest. Arbor Day concluded with a homework assignment that involved writing an essay on "a ramble in the woods with our teacher."
Many people over the years wrote to the Globe arguing about the holiday's importance. Several people took philosophical views, namely that cultivating beautiful things can make for better people. One author, in his 1903 article, expressed that, "what is wanted more than almost anything else is the humanizing and civilizing influence of the beautiful." In 1918, another author asked his readers what could be done to beautify villages and small towns. He then eloquently declared that, "the answers would fill a book, but meanwhile the words 'Arbor Day' float down from somewhere among the gorgeous foliage of the maple trees and write themselves upon the paper and upon the brain and upon the heart." He went on to explain that the maple tree was much more than just a beautiful tree; it was also a meaningful Canadian symbol that instilled patriotic pride. He wrote this during wartime and explained that "in thousands of letters that are crossing the ocean at this moment its leaves are enclosed as symbols of infinite solicitude and affection, carrying messages to sons and brothers and fathers and lovers with an eloquence and pathos that no words could command." Thus, Arbour Day was not just about civic beautification and teaching children about gardening; it also instilled a pride of place in Canadian citizens.
Several other writers discussed the importance of Arbor Day through a conservation lens. People were witnessing the disappearance of forests and animals. The landscape was changing before their eyes, and they wanted to preserve and encourage the growth of trees, not just for the aesthetic and educational benefits they could instill, but because tree planting was a means of stewarding the environment. Springs had shrunken and small streams had disappeared as a result of the disappearance of trees. Deforested areas were also subject to cold winter winds, with one writer explaining that farmers feared the effects of this wind every season on crops and orchards. After discussing the negative environmental effects that deforestation had caused, the author explained that "the spirit of Arbor Day should pervade this year . Children should be taught to value trees and regard them, whether in the school grounds or by the wayside, as silent teachers and companions."
In 1915, another author wrote that "the idea of developing trees for the gratification of a future generation is a useful lesson in altruism, and the self-sacrifice involved should be thoroughly understood by those who make it." He felt that planting trees was good for producing shade and improving the climate, and that the removal of trees had contributed to the climate's aridity, injuring plants and animals through a lack of moisture in the soil and air.
These writers' statements show that people at the close of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century were thinking about the repercussions of deforestation and saw initiatives like Arbor Day as important ways to get youth to understand the importance of trees and forests in the natural landscape.
Beginning in the 1930s people began to write into newspapers expressing their disappointment that Arbor Day was becoming a thing of the past. Concurrently in 1934 the city of Toronto began to record the numbers of tree cutting and plantings. City workers uncovered that by the end of 1952, 47,673 trees were removed from streets and parks. During the first seven years of the study 10,640 trees were planted. There were no records of any plantings before 1941, except for a few trees dotting University Avenue and Jarvis Street.  A 1953 Globe and Mail article stated that, because of these figures, there was a need for the government to better inform the younger generation of the meaning of conservation, explaining that "it could start in the backyards and on the streets of the city itself." 
In the past several decades there has been a resurgence in tree planting, perhaps not for some of the poetic sentiments expressed above, but because of links between nature, conservation, and mental health. There has been a burgeoning number of studies and articles linking nature to better physical and mental states. As rampant development continues, Canadians are noticing severe changes to their environment, few of them positive. This development, coupled with increased hours spent in front of screens, takes its toll on our ability to connect with nature. People are beginning to notice an emptiness; many are starting to see the importance of green space and nature's beauty in their own lives. These revelations, along with things such as a celebration of locally produced foods, arts and crafts, etc., have led to an increase in beautification initiatives and nature education.
Every September, Canadians now celebrate National Forestry Week. The Wednesday of this week was declared National Tree Day (Maple Leaf Day) in 2011. On this day Canadians are encouraged to plant trees in their communities. Tree Canada, an organization that dedicated efforts to organize the holiday, states that the day serves "as a celebration for all Canadians to appreciate the great benefits that trees provide us - clean air, wildlife habitat, reducing energy demand and connecting with nature."  Ontario also celebrates Arbor Week in April/May, Prince Edward Island celebrates Arbor Day on the third Friday in May, and Calgary celebrates the holiday on the first Thursday in May.
There are several organizations which support backyard and school yard tree planting and education. Here are a few to check out:
Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests (LEAF) | Forests Ontario | Planting for Change (P4C) initiative by the Association for Canadian Educational Resources (ACER) | One Million Trees Mississauga | Think Trees Manitoba Forestry Association | Tree Canada
Get out there and get planting!
 The "Class Day Tree" was first published in the New York Arbor Day Circular. I found it in an article written by M.A. Bryant entitled "An Arbor Day Exercise" in the April 1896 volume of the Popular Educator.
 Ron Williams, Landscape Architecture in Canada (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's Press, 2014), 93-94.
 Ibid., 162.
 Legislative Assembly of the Province of Quebec. Arbor Day: A Few Advices to Farmers on the Planting of Forest and Ornamental Trees (Eusebe Senecal & Fils, 1884)
 The Globe, April 17, 1885.
 Arbor Day at School, The Globe, August 3, 1912.
 Arbor Day, The Globe, March 31, 1903.
 Arbor Day, The Globe, October 5, 1918.
 Arbor Day, The Globe, March 25, 1893.
 The Significance of Arbor Day, The Globe, April 28, 1915.
 Toronto's Vanishing Trees, The Globe and Mail, June 6, 1953.
 Tree Canada. "National Tree Day," https://treecanada.ca/engagement-research/national-tree-day/ (accessed February 12, 2019)
Were a kind fairy to suggest that I might have one wish granted, it would be that I would like to see every child given an opportunity to have flowers, birds and animals, a place to play, a garden in which to work, and something all his own to love."-J.A. Taylor 
A Brief History of School Gardening
Newton Wiley's 1912 Globe article highlighted the successes of school gardening, stating that "in Ontario during the last four or five years a remarkable development along educational lines has taken place that has been little heard of outside of the centres affected. It has consisted in a broadening of the public school curriculum to a wider utilization of the greatest education-Nature."
At the turn of the twentieth century there were several programs that focused on teaching children gardening. In 1904 Nature Study was established as a course at the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC), with the purpose of improving the aesthetic side of rural life in Ontario. Through this program, rural boys and girls were prepared for farm life, where they believed this was "nature's own method of training her children." That same year, Montreal philanthropist Sir William MacDonald initiated and funded a school gardening programme. Under the directorship of James W. Robertson, Dominion Commissioner of Agriculture and Dairying, the program commenced. Twenty five schools - five for each province - were selected in Ontario, New Brunswick, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. The program allowed for selected teachers to be sent to one year nature study programs, funded by MacDonald, in places like the University of Chicago, Cornell, the Ontario Agricultural College, and Columbia University. To support future teacher training MacDonald donated $175,000 to Ontario to build what is now known as the MacDonald Institute and the Ontario Agricultural College.
MacDonald School Gardening and Nature Study were very popular and successful initiatives that brought students and their teachers closer to nature through practical application. Sadly, these programs came to a close with the beginning of the First World War, but there was a silver lining. Ontario Horticultural Societies took up the torch where these programs left off. Individual societies throughout the country encouraged children to garden. A ten year old girl who tended a school garden in the Windsor area stated:
I grew in [my garden] vegetables, such as radishes, beets, carrots, onions, beans, tomatoes and turnips; all of which grew very nicely. Some of my vegetables I canned after having been shown the way to do them and took them to the Windsor Fair, and got a first prize for $3 for 1917.
Another little boy participated in a horticultural society gardening contest and his proud teacher stated that:
At the end of the season he got a prize, 75 cents. They sent it to him in the form of a cheque, which the parents had framed, the father saying if they cashed it from him the money would be gone, but they could show the framed cheque to their friends.
School gardens were an important part of children's education at the turn of the century. Teaching children to garden instilled many important values. The next section will discuss some of these skills and values, showing how people thought about gardening at the turn of the century.
What was the Value of School Gardens?
As discussed above, school gardens meant more than just learning to garden, and students reaped more than just plant knowledge. In 1903, Professor W. Lochhead of OAC wrote an article for the Canadian Horticulturalist magazine where he answered, "what is the value of school gardening?" He believed that it:
(a) Inculcates habits of order, care, neatness and method and forces the child to constant observation.
(b) Brings the mind into closer communication with nature
(c) Teachers and scholars are brought closer in touch
(d) Physical recreation of a helpful pleasurable nature is provided
(e) Provides a hobby that may keep many from less desirable occupations during their leisure time
(f) A greater interest is taken in garden work in the community
(g) Indirectly, a love for home and its environments is created
(h) Gives boys and girls the rudiments of an industrial training which may be of value later in life.
This insightful list shows that there was far more positive skills learned by students than just producing vegetables. Below we will explore these, and other virtues that school gardening taught children in detail.
Citizenship and Nation-Building
School gardening made good citizens. It was thought that, "through the work of the school garden the pupil of either the country or city school is made a better student and a more useful citizen. "Thus, school gardening was used as a nation-building tool. The act of gardening connected students with the land around them, making them prideful of where they lived. Professor Lochhead illustrated this idea when he stated, "there is no more civilizing influence anywhere than that of the school gardens, and history tells us that one of the greatest advances in the history of the race occurred when men began the cultivation of plants, he then became a home builder, and gave up his wondering, nomadic habits."
Gardening also taught children many different skills. One such skill was discussed during the First World War when food production became a patriotic way of helping Canadian and Allied troops. J.A. Taylor expressed that, "school gardens also contribute to national prosperity. We know that the cost of vegetables [is] exceedingly high. It is nothing but right that the children should be taught to play their part in national prosperity." Gardening, then, taught children about economics and enlisted them to help in the war effort.
Character Development Through Moral Education
School gardening also made good children. George D. Fuller, Director of the school in Brone Country, Quebec, said that gardening had a very positive effect on students because their attention "turned to a consideration of the beautiful to the exclusion of many baser thoughts." Essentially, students spent more time on the virtuous activity of gardening than on activities that might get them in trouble. Thus, it was determined that school gardening in cities usually meant a decrease in crime. In St. Thomas, for example, it was reported that there were fewer juvenile court cases after school gardening was put into the curriculum, because children were busy tending gardens. In addition, active horticultural society member Mrs. R.B. Potts believed that school gardening instilled empathy in Canadian youth. She believed that, "people of all nations are recognizing as a truth that knowledge is for man a means to an end; true education is based on sympathy for fellow man and a widespread appreciation of nature, best gained through observation and continued self activity."
School gardening also made better students. Garden historian Edwinna Von Baeyer stated that "absenteeism, always the bane of the rural school, decreased as the students rushed to school to see if their beans were up yet." Not only did students spend more time in school, but the ones who gardened typically received better grades than those who did not. J.A. Taylor believed this to be the case because, "school garden help[ed] to furnish an environment in which their characters are to develop and grow. Environment forms a large amount of life's course of study, and its enrichment makes noble tastes, refined ideas, elevated thoughts and lofty ideals, and sweetness of soul."
A Progressive Idea?
Students learned about the environment around them by going outside and gardening. They made mistakes, suffered disappointment, felt pride, and had their curiosity for the outside world satiated. John G. McDonald of the Aurora Horticultural Society explained that, "it is a recognized principle that we learn by doing. So in school gardening nothing will awaken an interest in this subject so much as getting to work at it." This practical application of education is an early example of the progressive educational model. The progressive educational movement began in Canada after the First World War. At this time people re-examined the values of existing, traditional values against innovative ideas. This movement promoted active and personal learning opportunities for pupils by encouraging them to learn through more hands-on experiences. This type of education emphasized life-long learning that taught students to be socially responsible, democratic citizens. Gardening was a way for children to get outside and "learn by doing." Engaging in gardening made them lifelong students who became good Canadian citizens.
School Gardening Today
School gardens are still in use today, although the way we think about these gardens has changed. Earlier gardens took on the Victorian ideals of crafting moral and just children. Today, school gardening focuses on teaching children more about conservation and respect for the environment. Marjorie Harris, garden columnist for the Globe and Mail, stated that "the sooner you teach a child the joys of the garden, the more likely you'll have an adult who respects the environment." Engaging in school gardening also helps children stay active. In 1996, Nancy Lee-Collibaba of Royal Botanical Gardens called out to parents, "are you looking for some interesting activities that will keep the kids away from computer games or TV, or provide skills to enrich their minds? Introduce your children to gardening!"
Gardening is not in the school curriculum, and programs depend on individual teachers' interest in the subject. In 2000, Ossington-Old Orchard Public School's garden, which had fifty students tending it, was threatened with removal when the school could no longer fund the instructor. Grade five student Alex Dault-Laurence was dismayed at the news, stating (perhaps with help from his parents) that, "if the garden disappears, part of the school's identity disappears too."There is a successful school garden at Humewood Community School in Toronto, where students are encouraged to design their own garden plots. The project's coordinator, Alex Lawson, said that "when I saw the students' designs--their wide range of plant choices, their lively sense of colour--I was impressed." In British Columbia there is a popular program called Farm-to-School, which matches participating schools with farmers in order to help teach students more about where their food comes from.
There are also many programs outside of schools which provide children with garden education. Royal Botanical Gardens has had children garden plots since 1947. The idea of the plots was initiated by Barbara Laking, the wife of then Director Leslie after her visit to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, which had a child gardening program in place. When explaining the value of the gardens, Brian Holley of RBG stated that one of the objectives of the plots was "to provide the children with knowledge. The educational opportunities that a garden makes available are almost unlimited. In addition to gardening techniques, students are instructed in botany, cooking, flower arranging, crafts, and natural history."RBG's child gardening plots are still very popular, and more information about their program can be found here.
Many horticultural societies continue to support junior gardening throughout the country. There are also other initiatives to get children gardening, like the Junior Master Gardener, Lucy Maud Montgomery Children's Garden of the Senses, Children's Eco Programs, Spec School Gardening Program, Evergreen's Weekend Nature Play in the Children's Garden, High Park's Children's Garden, and so many more!
J.A. Taylor, "The Influence of School Gardens on Community," 12th Annual Report of the Horticultural Society for 1917 (Toronto: Department of Agriculture, 1918), 50.
[e] Newton Wiley, "School Gardening in Ontario," The Globe, June 15, 1912.
Alexander M. Ross, A College on the Hill: A History of the Ontario Agricultural College, 1874-1974 (Toronto: Copp Clark Publishing, 1974), 73.
 Edwinna von Baeyer, Rhetoric and Roses: A History of Canadian Gardening 1900-1930 (Markham, Ontario: Fitzhenry and Whiteside Ltd., 1984), 40.
J.A. Taylor, "The Influence of School Gardens on Community," 49.
W. Lochhead, "School Gardens," The Canadian Horticulturist, July 1903, 273.
Newton Wiley, "School Gardening in Ontario," The Globe, June 15, 1912.
W. Lochhead, "School Gardens," The Canadian Horticulturist, July 1903, 246.
J.A. Taylor, "The Influence of School Gardens on Community," 31.
Edwinna von Baeyer, Rhetoric and Roses: A History of Canadian Gardening 1900-1930, 42
J.A. Taylor, "The Influence of School Gardens on Community," 29.
R.B. Potts, "School Children and Horticulture," 8th Annual Report of the Horticultural Societies for the Year 1913 (Toronto: Department of Agriculture, 1914), 54.
Edwinna von Baeyer, Rhetoric and Roses: A History of Canadian Gardening 1900-1930, 42
J.A. Taylor, "The Influence of School Gardens on Community," 48.
John G. McDonald, "School Gardens," 14th Annual Report of the Horticultural Societies for 1919, 89.
John Elias and Sharan B. Merriam. Philosophical Foundations of Adult Education (Krieger Publishing Company, 1995)
Marjorie Harris, "Students Watch how their Garden Grows," The Globe and Mail, May 16, 1992
Nancy Lee-Colibaba, "Gardening with Children: Cultivating Enriched Children," Pappus, Summer 1996, 24-25.
Theresa Ebden, "Please Save our Garden, Student Pleads," The Globe and Mail , May 11, 2000
Marjorie Harris, "Students Watch how their Garden Grows," The Globe and Mail, May 16, 1992
Jessica Leeder, Farm-to-School programs boosts the health of B.C. students and the food economy, The Globe and Mail, October 11, 2011
Brian Holley, "Gardening with Children-Sowing Seeds for the Future," Pappus, Summer 1985, 9-10.
Like during the First World War, many Canadians worked to produce food for the war effort during the Second World War. There were several food production initiatives throughout the war years; this post focuses on the students engaged in Farm Service. Male and female students worked on farms in the summer as a means of gaining course credit while also assisting with food production. Not only did this program help provide food for soldiers fighting overseas, it also instilled democratic values in Canadian youth. The 1941 Labour Gazette stated that:
Some teachers have questioned the advisability of allowing students to leave school so early in the year because of the loss in education. On the other hand this plan may be a gain for education if there is taken into consideration the value of training in Democracy involved in the self-discipline of farm work, the understanding of urban-rural relationships secured, the responsibility of the individual to the community which is developed in rendering a fair day's work for a fair day's pay, the co-ordination of body, mind and spirit in serving the social purpose of food production, and the realization of the value of time, work and money. 
Others, like the Chairman of the Toronto Board of Education, echoed this sentiment when he stated, "in these troubled days, may the boys and girls in our own schools learn the lessons of true patriotism and thus prepare themselves to champion loyalty, fair play and truth." A 1941 government issued handbook (shown below) states that, "this challenge [of Farm Service] is a call to you to take your place in this line of defence and man it so effectively that Great Britain and her allies- fighting for life, liberty and freedom, ours as much as theirs, need never fear a shortage of food." 
In the war's closing years, approximately 35,000 Ontario students were enrolled in Farm Service and stationed on sixty farms across the province. This number included members of Canadian Girls in Training, whose summer program was combined with the Farmerettes. More young women than men were engaged in this service, which was partly attributable to the men fighting on the front, as well as men's tendencies to seek more lucrative summer employment elsewhere in the expanding wartime economy.
Below are several pages of The Handbook for Students Registering for Farm Service in Collegiate Institutes, High, Vocational and Continuation Schools of Ontario Under Dominion Provincial Training, a pamphlet issued in 1941 by the Minister of Education in Co-operation with the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Labour.
Image reproductions are courtesy of the Royal Botanical Gardens's Canadian Centre for Historical Horticultural Studies.
Wartime Farm Labour Program In Ontario, Labour Gazette, April 1943, http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/oldlabourstudies/onlinelearning/article.php?id=856 (accessed September 14, 2017)
 Empire Days in the Schools of Ontario, May 23, 1940 quoted in Charles M. Johnston, "The Children's War: The Mobilization of Ontario Youth During the Second World War" In Patterns of the Past: Interpreting Ontario's History edited by Laurel Sefton MacDowell, et al. (Dundurn Press, 1996), 357.
The Handbook for Students Registering for Farm Service in Collegiate Institutes, High, Vocational and Continuation Schools of Ontario Under Dominion Provincial Training, 1941, item found at the Royal Botanical Garden's Canadian Centre for Historical Horticultural Studies
 Jeff Keshen, "Revisiting Canada's Civilian Women During World War II" Histoire Sociale/ Social History vol. 30, no. 60, 1997, 364-365.
Logging in Northwestern Ontario dates back to the 17th century when voyageurs established canoe routes in the area. These routes later supported the growing industry at the close of the 19th century. In 1878 John A. MacDonald proposed the National Policy, which directly affected the lumber industry. This policy stipulated that a railway be built to connect eastern and western Canada, and that settlement of farmers in the west be encouraged. These events meant that more lumber was needed for railway ties and for the creation of new homes. Increased literacy at this time also impacted the need for lumber. More people reading meant more newspapers printed, and this trend marked the beginning of the pulp and paper industry in the region.1 This was a time when the country's resources were plentiful. Businessmen and provincial officials promoted northern Ontario “as a rich treasury of resources, recently unlocked by modern technology and ready for the taking by men of spirit and audacity.”2
Throughout the first half of the 20th century Ontario logging operations were conducted primarily out of winter camps. As this was seasonal labour, it attracted transient workers, with many coming from the prairies or southern Ontario.3 The 1920 figures given by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics shows the amount of men who worked in these camps. The number of Ontario wood employees on wages peaked that February when 19,099 men worked, and this figure fell to 6,551 in July.4 Many men chose to work in the lumber camps in the winter, and on farms or in the construction field in the summer. A smaller percentage of men worked in the lumber industry year round. These men worked in sawmills in the summer and in the bush camps in the winter.5
This expanding industry drew on immigrant workers for manpower. A 1921 report suggested that the Shevlin-Clarke Logging Company that operated in the Rainy River region, categorized the labour force as being 10% Swedish, 20% English and French Canadian, and 70% Russian, Australian, Polish and Central European.6 Americans were also drawn into the Ontario lumbering industry. J.A. Mathieu, who established the J.A. Mathieu Lumbering Company explained that he, “followed the pine trees that were disappearing in Minnesota and came to Canada in 1902.”7
The isolated bush camp has become an iconic northern Canadian image. It was cheaper to house workers in “rough, temporary camps” within a walking distance to the work site than to build roads or railways into the “ever moving cutting areas.”8 The majority of the camps before the 1950s lacked modern day conveniences. Many newcomers were, “appalled by the primitiveness of the bunkhouse that was to serve as their new home.”9 They had no electricity, and instead used candles or kerosene lanterns for light. Also, plumbing was non-existent; instead the men shared a six seater outhouse. Many, understandably so, opted to remain dirty rather than bathe in freezing cold water. Laundry also proved a challenge. At the turn of the century, operators became afraid of unsanitary conditions, and offered laundry services to the men, although not all camps were given this luxury. If they were not, sometimes wives at the camp, or an Indigenous community member would volunteer to wash the men's clothing. Albert Cain, a lumberjack from Atikokan, recalled that the men's beds were usually made out of hay, and that it was so cold that you "had to keep a fire all night."10 These camps were reformed in the 1950s, and provided men with much better living conditions.11
Over the course of the century other innovations made life easier for the lumberjack. For instance, the first chainsaw used by the Ontario-Minnesota Pulp and Paper company was in 1951. What was to become a revolutionary piece of equipment was not an instant success. Many men chose to carry a swede saw instead, as the early chainsaws were heavy, and often needed two men for operation. However, as technology became better (and lighter) the chainsaw became the obvious first choice. Like the swede saw, the use of horses became obsolete with the introduction of new technologies, namely tractors and trucks. The Ontario-Minnesota Pulp and Paper company notes that the last horse used by its company was in 1965.12 Trucks transporting heavy logs on the highway is now a common site.
Trucks did not just replace horses, but also the infamous log drives. Although these drives no longer occur, the imagery they evoke is permanently ingrained into the Canadian psyche, and in turn, contributes to our sense of identity. A long, taxing and often dangerous task, these drives were essential for getting logs from the bush to the mills. In the Rainy River District, two drives were used- one on the Little Turtle River System and the other on the Seine River System.13 These drives brought logs to Fort Frances three to five months after the ice melted in the spring. They did not always make it and sometimes were frozen in until the following year. These drives continued until the completion of Highway 11 in 1972.14
Driving and floating operations required fewer men than the winter logging activities, so professional bush workers usually filled these positions.15 Often the best men on the winter camps were chosen, and this gave the log driver's position a level of prestige. There were several important jobs to be done while conducting a drive. Improvement crews removed rocks and smoothed or reinforced jagged banks that obscured the path of logs. They also built dams along the way so that an increased volume of water could be released if needed. Jam breaking was one of the most dangerous jobs. Men would “clamber out to the front of a jam and pry away at the lead logs, trying to find the kingpin which would release the jam. If the kingpin was pried loose the jam might burst apart, leaving barely enough time to jump clear.”16 Sometimes dynamite was used to break up stubborn jams, but this was a last resort effort as this may damage the logs, and it was usually a perilous task. After the majority of the logs made it down stream the “sweepers” pushed along any logs that had been left behind.
The Shevlin-Clarke Logging Company registering their timber mark. These marks are still used by logging companies when they transport their logs from privately owned land. They certify ownership and help prevent theft. The registered symbols are branded on the logs by timber mallets. Atikokan Museum Collection 2017.90.2.
Logging remains a large industry in Northwestern Ontario. This month the Atikokan Centennial Museum is hosting Centennial College Forestry students to teach them about the industry's rich history. I hope that the information and photographs presented helps ground their experiences in the field, making for a richer appreciation of the industry and the changes it has gone through.
 Ian Radforth, Bush Workers and Bosses: Logging in Northern Ontario, 1900-1980. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987), 17
 Ibid., 9.
 Ralph O'Donnell Interview, 1985, transcript at the Atikokan Centennial Museum.
 Ian Radforth, Bush Workers and Bosses: Logging in Northern Ontario, 1900-1980., 26.
 Ibid., 29.
 Ibid., 33.
 Ibid., 15.
 Ibid., 26.
 Ibid., 91.
 Albert Cain Interview, 1985, transcript at the Atikokan Centennial Museum.
 Ian Radforth, Bush Workers and Bosses: Logging in Northern Ontario, 1900-1980.,91.
 Unknown author. "The Ontario-Minnesota Pulp and Paper Company: Operations in the Atikokan Area," 1974 In Articles on Mining and Logging in the Atikokan Area. (A collection of articles put together by an unknown source in an unknown year.)
 Ian Radforth, Bush Workers and Bosses: Logging in Northern Ontario, 1900-1980., 64.
 Ibid., 64.
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