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Nature Natural Resources

Bush Workers and Bosses Logging in Northern Ontario 1900-1980

by (author) Ian Radforth

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Dec 1987
Natural Resources, Post-Confederation (1867-), 18th Century
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    Publish Date
    Dec 1987
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The lumberjack – freewheeling, transient, independent – is the stuff of countless Canadian tales and legends. He is also something of a dinosaur, a creature of the past, replaced by a unionized worker in a highly mechanized and closely managed industry. In this far-ranging study of the logging industry in twentieth-century Ontario, Ian Radforth charters the course of its transition and the response of its workers to the changes.


Among the factors he considers are technological development, changes in demography and the labour market, an emerging labour movement, new managerial strategies, the growth of a consumer society, and rising standards of living. Radforth has drawn on an impressive array of sources, including interviews and forestry student reports as well as a vast body of published sources such as The Labour Gazette, The Pulp and Paper Magazine of Canada, and The Canada Lumberman, to shed new light on trade union organization and on the role of ethnic groups in the woods work force.


The result is a richly detailed analysis of life on the job for logging workers during a period that saw the modernization not only of the work but of relations between the workers and the bosses.

About the author

Ian Radforth is a Canadian social historian who taught for more than three decades in the department of history at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Bushworkers and Bosses: Logging in Northern Ontario, 1900–1980 and Royal Spectacle: The 1860 Visit of the Prince of Wales to Canada and the United States.

Ian Radforth's profile page

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