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"The extraction and supply of staples, such as fur, fish, wood, wheat, minerals, and petroleum, to large portions of the world shaped Canada's economic, cultural and political development."
                              Joe Martin and Christopher Kobrak, From Wall Street to Bay Street

"The fisheries of Newfoundland are inexhaustible and are of more value to the Empire than all the silver mines of Peru."
                                                Sir Francis Bacon, The Essays or Counsels, 1625

Cod fishing, 1698 LAC C003686

"One breathes, eats, sees, and talks nothing but cod." [when in Newfoundland]
                                                                                          Harold Innis

Whaling, 1780, LAC Acc. No. 1977-55-8

The first lumber raft down the Ottawa river, 1806. Le premier train de bois sur la rivière des Outaouais, 1806. LAC, Acc. No. 1972-26-792, Charles W. Jefferys, 1920s or 1930s

[Upper and Lower Canada became the main supplier of timber when Napoleon decreed a blockade on all trade with Great Britain (including the Nordic countries].

The Micmac News, Sydney, April 1980

Indian Hunters Pursuing the Buffalo in the Early Spring. Chasseurs indiens poursuivant le bison, tôt au printemps. LAC, Acc. No. 1981-55-68 Bushnell Collection, Peter Rindischbacher, ca. 1822

Making Maple Sugar, Lower Canada. Préparation du sucre d'érable, Bas-Canada. LAC Acc. No. 1988-10-3, Philip John Bainbrigge, ca. 1837

Lumbering in Canada, New York Public Library

Harper's Weekly, New York, 5 February 1858

Fishing at Sault Ste. Marie. Pêche à Sault-Sainte-Marie. LAC, Acc. No. 1981-55-6, William Armstrong 1869 

"Like the fur trade, the trade in deals and timber was rooted firmly in the geography and history of the country. Supplies were apparently inexhaustible. The river system of transportation was suited to the carriage of the buoyant softwood logs; and the commercial philosophy and system which had been elaborated to serve the fur trade could be transformed to support the commerce for the new staple."
                                                                                               Donald Creighton

The First Harvest in Canada, J. D. Kelly, 1900?

Dépôt de bois près de Québec, vers 1838. Timber depot near Québec, ca. 1838. LAC C-016549, Willliam Henry Bartlett

Oxen Dragging a Felled Tree. Boeufs tirant un arbre abattu. LAC, Acc. No. R9266-250 Peter Winkworth Collection of Canadiana, George H. Harvey, ca. 1846-1910

Sugar Making in Canada. Cabane à sucre au Canada. LAC Acc. No. 1989-512, Cornelius Krieghoff, 1849

Steam ferry-boat and rafting timber on St. John River near Fredericton, New Brunswick. LAC, Acc. No. 1985-3-70, William S. M. Wolfe, 1854-54

Cod fishing, 1854, LAC Acc. No. 1943-121-84

Cutting Wood in the Forest. Indiens coupant du bois dans la forêt. LAC 1937-288-1, William G. R. Hind, ca.1863

Oil Well, Gaspe´ C. E. (Gaspe´, Que´bec), 1866, TRL JRR 1598 Cab IV (Pye)

Lumberman, Toronto Reference Library,  941-3-39 Cab IV (Hind) Fra, 1870

De´but de l'exploration des premie`ewa mines d'amiante a` Thetford Minesm 1878,  BAnQ

A Logger's Camp on Vancouver Island. LAC Acc. No. 1989-201-32, E. Sandys, 1880-1900

The Grand Hotel

Ploughing - April. LAC, Acc. No. 1984-164-36 Source: Mr. Laurent Allard, Laval, Québec, Henri Julien, 1880-1908

Puck, New York, 27 August 1884

A Ranch in the Rockies. Une ferme dans les Rocheuses. 1887-1909, Edward Roper, LAC Acc. No. 1989-446-11

Breaking Prairie in July, Northwest Territory, Canada (Arthur Field's place, about 5 miles northeast of Broadview). Labourage de la prairie au mois de juillet, T.N-O., Canada (ferme d'Arthur Field's, environ 8 kilomètres au nord-est de Broadview). LAC, Acc. No. 1989-446-25, Edward Roper,  ca. 1887-1909

Railway Station and Corn Elevator, Brandon. Gare de chemin de fer et élévateurs à maïs, Brandon. LAC, C-022395, John Pedder, ca. 1887

Dominion Illustrated News, 21 June 1890

Massey March Albert F. O. Hartmann

Preparing seal or whale oil for market. Victoria, BC, LAC C-068455

No. 1 Shaft, Vancouver Coal Company, Nanaimo, 1892, BC Archives G-02984

Le samedi, Montréal, 7 May 1892

Newfoundland fishing 1897, LAC e000610861

Threshing wheat on the plains, Manitoba, n.d. LAC Acc. No. 1948-59-2

Angel of Progress, electric power, 1900

Hauling Logs By Oxen, 19—, BC Archives NA-06524

Vancouver City Archives

Threshing scene, Portage Plains, Manitoba, n.d. LAC PA-066659

Canadian Lumberman, January 1905

The National Monthly of Canada, Toronto, May 1905

The Lumber Jack, Toronto Reference Library ARTS-PC-657, 1907

The Canadian Courier, Toronto, 16 June 1907

Harper's Weekly, New York, 23 October 1909

Communal harvesting. The men ride the binders and the women stook. LAC C-009787, 1910-12

De´pec¸age d'une baleine au quai de la Quebec Steam Whaling Company, Sept-I^les, 1910, National Archives of Quebec

Lou Skuce, The Toronto World, 15 January 1911

"From fur to logs, from rocks to oil and gas, our country's wealth of primary resources  provided the backbone of prosperity through most of the twentieth century."
                                                                                             Charlotte Gray

Bushmen and Sawmill Hands Wanted, Ottawa, Library of Congress LC-USZC4-12675. 1915

Bushmen and Sawmill Hands Wanted, Ottawa, Library of Congress LC-USZC4-12676, 1915




The Harvester by Lionel Lemoine Fitzgerald, 1921



British Columbia Electric Company, The Vancouver Sun, July 1925


Empire Marketing Board, Timber,  1926-34 LAC Acc. No. 1983-27-38

BC Legislative Assembly building

BC Legislative Assembly building

BC Legislative Assembly building

BC Legislative Assembly building

A Canadian Salmon Cannery on the Pacific Coast. Une conserverie de saumon canadien sur la côte du Pacifique, Canada. Great Britain, Empire Marketing Board, LAC Acc. No. 1983-27-363, 1926-1934

Work and Play. Indian Residential School, [Fort] Resolution, N.W.T. Travail et jeu ? pensionnat indien, [Fort] Resolution, T. N.-O. LAC PA-048021, 1928?



Ukrainian women cutting logs, Athabasca, Alberta. LAC C-019134, 1930

Jimmy Sewid and other fishermen from 'Namgis First Nation pulling in a fishing net. LAC /e011051640, Canada. Dept. of Manpower and Immigration




« This Is Our Strength - Electric Power » : Effort de guerre canadien et campagne de sensibilisation à la production. LAC Acc. No. 1983-30-103, Marion Scott, ca. 1941




Canada's Mining men break records. LAC Acc. No. 1983-30-1062, 1944


Mining dredge, Yukon Toronto Star License, Toronto Reference Library tspp_0009526f 1946



A humpback whale being skinned. Baleine à bosse que l'on dépouille. Photograph taken in British Columbia. NFB Photo Story: Annual Kill 600: Canadian Whaling Fleet. Title based on the following caption from the NFB Photo Story: Towed up seaplane ramp of converted RCAF base at Coal Harbour, a 50-ton Humpback has its skin peeled back, banana-fashion, be "flensing" crew. Using razor-sharp flensing knives, the crew makes three cuts through the blubber from tail to head, parting the firm white coat with a crisp sound. Blubber is then cut into strips and diced before being fed into digesters. Mammals yield big returns in blubber, oil and bone fertilizer. To a limited extent, fast-frozen, beef-like "whale steaks" are sold in Vancouver shops for human consumption. Canada's whaling industry has operated since 1890.Chris Lund, 1948, LAC National Film Board fonds/e011175762












































"Canada is like a farmer who maintains his high standard of living by selling off another piece of the farm every spring."
                                                                                      Walter Gordon, 1975


"We have come to believe that we can dig it up, cut it down, or pump it out, endlessly."
                                                  Douglas Wright, address, 28 November 1985


"For the most part Canadians, a notoriously lazy bunch, still live of the riches we were fortunate enough to stumble on here in the first place. Our prosperity, such as it is, is based on what we can dig or pump out of the ground or harvest from its surface or the surrounding seas."
                                                                                                 Mordecai Richler