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The 1800s – the era of the timber trade in Ontario and Quebec. Lumber camps supplied logs to sawmills or to forwarding companies. Workers built rafts of the felled timber and raftsmen were hired to take them down the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers to the Port of Quebec, where they were disassembled and the timber shipped to England, the returning ships carrying immigrants to Canada. The author brings to life the story of the raftsmen, whose work helped shape Canada and then faded into history.

Robidoux has written his best pages about the raftsmen, their joys, miseries, efforts, risks, and accomplishments. He reminds us of their songs and sagas, the legends that surround them, as well as remembering the hardships they faced in their lives. From the Preface, by Pierre Camu.

“In the pages of The Raftsmen the author has captured the spirits of the land, the rivers and the people, illuminating the details by the light of oil lamps.” From the Foreword, by Karen Molson.

“Leon Robidoux’s book is scrupulously researched, joyfully related, and dedicated to his great-grandfather, Aime Guerin, possibly the greatest raftsmen on the St. Lawrence River. Robidoux’s passion for this rather obscure segment of Canadian history has produced a fine insight into a bygone era.” Louis Fabiani, Montreal Review of Books.

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