Skip to main content

Logging Industry

Two men are standing on planks cut into very large tree. The planks are very high off the ground. On the ground, a man and a dog are watching the men.

Falling a tree using a springboard 1898

Working in the logging industry was difficult and often dangerous work.  Pioneer loggers often worked sixteen-hour backbreaking days.   

A group of pioneer men are standing in a mill yard. Horses are pulling the large logs to the covered sawmill.

Lumby Sawmill on Whitevale Road 1912

To fall the trees, loggers inserted a springboard into the tree a couple of metres above the ground.  Two axe men stood on the board and chopped at the tree with heavy, double-edged axes. They also used long hand-operated saws with handles at each end.  In the 1930’s, the first mechanical saws were introduced. 

These saws were heavy, awkward two-man contraptions that were soon replaced by lighter saws that one person could operate.

The biggest impact to Lumby’s logging industry was the building of the Canadian transcontinental railway in the late 1800’s.

A man is standing on a load of logs stacked on a sled. A team of two horses are pulling a sled. The logs are large and cut to the same size. The road is steep and covered in snow.

Horse logging 1936

Special timber harvesting rights were issued to local timber companies to produce railway ties and other critical building materials for the railway.

The railway line to Lumby was laid out in 1919, but not officially built until 1925.  The coming of the railway to Lumby made it possible for sawmills to expand and ship their products to new markets. 

Eventually horses were replaced by trucks to transport the logs to the mill.  Soon logging and pole production became the leading industry and employer in Lumby.

An old logging truck with no cab and wooden wheels is travelling on a narrow dirt road. The truck is loaded with wooden poles. The driver is sitting on a bench directly in front of the poles.

Hauling cedar poles out of Sugar Lake 1924


A woman is standing in a rustic wooden house floating on the water. There are large mountains surrounding the water. Two other vessels are tied to the wooden house.

Noisy Mabel 1950’s

Four men are gathered in front of a pioneer truck loaded with poles. The truck tires are narrow and made of solid rubber. The truck cab is small and open.

Load of cedar poles 1920