New Brunswick Logging Tradition
By examining artifacts and folk song lyrics related to 19th century logging in New Brunswick, students should gain an appreciation for a lifestyle experienced by a large segment of the population in this British North American colony and original Canadian province. This logging tradition continued into the middle of the 20th century.
You can't see the forest for the trees...
The forests have been the engine driving the New Brunswick economy for two centuries. Timber from this colony provided the British navy with their ships. Newsprint from pulp and paper allowed North Americans to keep up with daily happenings. A large percentage of the province's workforce earned their livelihood from woods related jobs.
Working in the woods was a way of life, tempered with both hardship and joy. The 19th century was the golden age of logging in New Brunswick. This was changed with the introduction of huge pulp and paper plants early in the 20th century. The introduction of new machinery to harvest trees meant the end of traditional logging by the middle of the 20th century.
THE LIFE OF A LOGGER - Individual Activity
Assign one of the learning objects to each student. Some are traces or primary documents while others are accounts or secondary documents. After reading and examining the learning object, each student should record any information about the forest industry they can learn from the trace or account. Provide a set time for completion of this task. As students present their information to the class, comparisons and differences can be discussed. Probing questions are provided for each learning object or document. The goal is to have students become aware of the type of life a 19th century logger was likely to experience.
This activity could be expanded into a class project.
PROBING QUESTIONS - Burned Tree
How difficult would it be to find artifacts dating to the 1825 Miramichi fire?
How could one prove that this artifact came from the historical Miramichi fire?
THE LIFE OF A LOGGER - Class Project
Using the traces and accounts provided below, the students should construct a story of what life was like for a person involved in the timber industry in 19th century New Brunswick.
Divide the class into small groups and assign a different learning object to each group. Depending on the number of students and class size, each group may be asked to examine more than one learning object. The task is to examine the trace or account and discover information about logging that could be included in the story the class will be constructing.
The teacher should determine the best way to compile this story, with the goal of presenting it to a larger audience. This might include oral presentations, preparing a series of dioramas, or even producing a podcast using these learning objects and/or other traces and accounts. Particularly good additional sources might come from the Public Archives of New Brunswick in Fredericton or the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John.
L'Alphabet du bûcheron
"L'Alphabet du bûcheron" chantée par Wilmot Macdonald a été enregistrée au Festival de la chanson folklorique de Miramichi en 1959.
PROBING QUESTIONS - Bruce's Log Cabin
What are the similarities and differences between "Bruce's Log Cabin" and the "Song of a Lumberjack"?
How do the versions of Wilbert Munn and Roy Hunter differ? Why is this the case?
Louise Manny mentions that students used to memorize folk songs like this and recite them before their classes. Is this practice of memorizing folk songs followed today? Should it be a part of the curriculum?
Cabane de trappeur
La cabane de trappeur a été construite originalement vers la fin du 19e siècle près d'un lac du centre du Nouveau-Brunswick. On l'a défaite, déménagée et reconstruite au Musée des bûcherons du centre du Nouveau-Brunswick à Boiestown vers la fin du 20e siècle.
Musée des bûcherons du centre du Nouveau-Brunswick
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