Intangible heritage

“I thought we’d been completely forgotten. What they’ve done is heart-warming. When I think of my father and grandfather, I’m truly grateful.”

- Gilles Corbin, former log driver on the Saint-Maurice River


Too often, oral accounts of industrial history are lost, because they are considered unimportant. It is as if, once the old mills fell silent, so too did the voices of those who worked in them. The stories of hundreds of workers have fallen into oblivion. Yet,- Quebec’s industrial past shaped its towns and cities to a considerable degree. The pulp and paper industry helped create the city of Trois-Rivières as we know it today. It also left us a rich cultural legacy that needs to be preserved.


In a true race against time, we aim to gather the stories of a generation of workers who are fast disappearing. We want them to share with us their accounts of the dangerous drives on the Saint-Maurice River, the heat generated by the machines, the camaraderie of men in the lumber camps on cold winter nights . . . It is essential that the work of these men be brought to the fore, in recognition of the enormous, unspoken contribution they have made to our history. As part of this project, we plan to travel across Quebec, northern Ontario and western New Brunswick to gather accounts about the former lumberjacks, log drivers and workers who devoted their lives to their job. By building our intangible heritage, we intend to preserve the memory of the workers and restore a sense of pride to the communities we visit.

A history rich in meaning

In the 1920s, the City of Trois-Rivières was considered the world’s newsprint capital. On August 3, 2006, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada declared it the site of a National Historic Event: the pulp and paper industry. These titles, past and present, justify the scope of our current legacy project and serve as a reminder of the crucial role the industry has played in the development of the region and in Canada as a whole.