VIEW-4517 | Machine room dry end, Laurentide Pulp Mills, Grand-Mère, QC, about 1908

Machine room dry end, Laurentide Pulp Mills, Grand-Mère, QC, about 1908
Wm. Notman & Son
About 1908, 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , industrial (826) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

At the turn of the century technological and political change boosted the growth of new industries, creating thousands of jobs and new trades unions. Now that mechanical and chemical methods of turning wood into paper had been perfected and provincial governments had banned the export of pulpwood, the pulp and paper industry boomed. Paper mills sprang up in the forested regions of Quebec and Ontario, close to the raw material and to sources of hydroelectricity. When the international trades unions arrived to offer their services to the thousands of workers in these regions, notably in Grand-Mère, the Church reacted. In order to counter the unions already established in Jonquière and Chicoutimi, Monsignor Eugène Lapointe (1860-1941) formed the Fédération ouvrière mutuelle du Nord, a Catholic trade union.

  • What

    After being washed, bleached and compressed into a thin layer of fibre, the wood pulp is dried and collected into large rolls.

  • Where

    The Laurentide pulp mill was in the town of Grand-Mère, by the Saint-Maurice river, 35 kilometres from Trois-Rivières.

  • When

    The scene was sketched about 1908, when the Canadian pulp and paper industry was in full boom.

  • Who

    The pulp and paper industry constituted a very dynamic growth sector in the Canadian economy. In each company workers from the various departments would band together to establish industrial trades unions.