1938, Adélard Haman obtained logging
rights in Stoddard Township and built a sawmill near Carey Lake. A few
years later, Arthur Lecours built a sawmill
and a planer nearby, which was sold to Ernest
Gosselin in 1944.
entrepreneurs negotiated logging rights from pulp and paper companies that
harvested pulpwood in the region. Rosaire Lecours
(Arthur’s brother, nicknamed “Fred”) obtained logging rights in Studholm
Township from Arrow Timber, an American company, and in 1942, he built
a sawmill near Angelina Lake (in front of Forde Lake.)
obtained logging rights on private townships belonging to the Transcontinental
Timber Company (bought out by Domtar in the 1970s.) It is notably the case
of Willie Létourneau and his mill near
the Kabina River, which he sold to J. D. Levesque
1948, Henry Selin, a Swedish entrepreneur, established
a sawmill and a forestry village at Nassau Lake after obtaining substantial
logging rights on Transcontinental Timber’s private townships.
and Selin were unsuccessful in their bid to
secure logging rights on Crown lands, with representatives of the Department
of Lands and Forests arguing that wood was not in sufficient supply due
to exploitation by pulpwood-exporting companies.
the early 1950s, after lobbying Ontario’s Conservative Government, J.
D. Levesque obtained a logging licence in the Ritchie Township. This
new development led to the establishment of J.
D. Levesque’s sawmill in this township in 1953.
first logging concessions granted to local sawmill entrepreneurs were small,
thus creating precarious viability for young lumber enterprises. J.
D. Levesque, for example, had a mere 9 000 cords licence for his Ritchie
mill, which was very little to fund the construction of a road and a forestry
village (Excerpt from an interview with Roland Cloutier.) Furthermore,
small lumber enterprises are denied loans from financial institutions.
They are funded by wholesalers from Southern Ontario who offer them advances
on their purchases of lumber, but also retain a large portion of the profit
that time, most sawmills operated on a seasonal basis mainly due
to an insufficient supply of timber. The Fontaine
mill in Ryland functioned during the winter while the Fontaine
mill at Lac Sainte.Thérèse operated only during
the summer. Levesque’s Kabina and
Ritchie sawmills both operated only during the winter, with a
seasonal production of roughly fifteen million feet of wood. In
comparison, the Henry Selin Forest Products
mill, which benefited from a large enough supply of wood to operate
year-round, produced 25 million feet of wood in 1952 alone (Excerpt
of an article from “Serving the North”, November 1952).
increase revenues, mill owners used smaller logs to make pulpwood which
they sold to pulp and paper companies.
pulp and paper companies got involved in lumber production during the 1940s
and 1950s to process larger logs. For example, the Marathon
Paper Mills Company asked local people to install and operate sawmills
on the company’s logging lands. Philippe Buteau,
Dupuis, Wilfrid Lallier and Henri-Louis
Gosselin operated such sawmills, and were paid for every thousand feet
of wood they produced. Meanwhile, Canada Forwarding, another pulp and paper
Adélard Haman’s Carey
Lake mill and logging lands in 1945 and operated it until 1948, when the
company left the region following a decision by the provincial government
to outlaw the exportation of crude pulpwood outside of Ontario. This new
measure was intended to force companies to transform pulpwood locally in
order to generate more employment. Some companies attempted to bark their
wood before shipping it out of the province, but this proved to be unprofitable.
companies therefore gradually left the area. Their departure marked a turning
point in the history of the Hearst region: local lumber entrepreneurs now
had access to large logging territories. The lumber industry was thus allowed
to expand and become the region’s main economic engine.