The Timber Raft

Somehow I had misssedthis one. Maybe because it was painted in 2004, five years after we moved from Pembroke to Ottawa.

About 30 years ago the city of Pembroke began commissioning murals for the downtown area. The theory was they might draw tourists. 

I think they did for the first few years, though I don’t know if anyone would plan a vacation specifically to see the murals. Still there are about 30 of them sprinkled throughout the downtown area.

I found this one at the edge of a skateboard park (which I also hadn’t seen before). It captures that bygone era when the logs came down the Ottawa River instead of by truck as they do it today. There’s probably all sorts of environmental regulations now about sticking logs in water, but those weren’t there a century ago. 

It was grueling, physical work. Just thinking about it makes my back ache. That way of life is gone, though there is still forestry in the area. No-one cuts down trees with axes anymore. Probably none of the forestry workers are sad about that.

Still, they are probably nostalgic for the timber rafts. Not only was it hard work, it was dangerous. But there was something special about the camaraderie those men developed, working together under such perilous circumstances. 


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