Logging By Rail In Algonquin Park. The Fassett Lumber Corporation's Fossmill, Ontario Operation. Circa 1930.
Toronto: Past Forward Heritage Services, 1996. 30 mins., video, $29.95.
Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.
Canada enjoys a rich history and this video brings to life a small part of that history. It deals with the operation of the Fassett Lumber Corporation's saw mill at Fossmill in Algonquin Park, Ontario. Since logging played such an important part in Canada's past, a video such as this is invaluable. It brings the subject to life.
Logging By Rail combines still photographs and film with a musical selection of jigs and reels from the period. The informed narration greatly increases the value of the tape. The most unusual aspect of the production is the inclusion of a film from the 1930s made to promote the operation of the Fassett Lumber Corporation's logging operations. Viewers see exactly what the employees of the mill did each day and the kind of tools and equipment they used. The tools can be seen in a museum but this cannot compare with a film showing exactly how they were used. It is particularly exciting to see the Shay locomotives chugging away with their loads of logs, scenes that will bring lumps to the throats of any old-time loggers. These emotions are reinforced at the end of the tape when part of the film is played again with only the sound effects of the train.
The Fassett Lumber corporation ran into hard times in the 1930s. Fire destroyed the wood yard at Fossmill and some of the workers' homes in 1931 and the mill itself was destroyed in 1934. Since the company lacked the money to rebuild the mill, the town of Fossmill eventually died. Without this video and the book that is to follow, an interesting part of Canada's history would eventually be lost.
Strongly recommended for anyone with an interest in local history, especially those with an interest in logging and railroading. It will be very valuable for teachers wanting to stimulate an interest in the history of logging.
Thomas F. Chambers is a teacher at Canadore College of Applied Arts and Technology in North Bay, Ontario.
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Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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