Some Notes on the Video

"Logging by Rail in Algonquin Park"

The original film footage in this video was made as a promotional tool by the Fassett Lumber Corporation in 1934. Soon after it was made the mill was destroyed in a fire and the film became redundant. Some shots were used in newspaper articles but the Manager of the company Sydney Staniforth put the film in storage. In early 1996 Donald Staniforth, the son of Sydney Staniforth, offered the film to Doug and Paul Mackey of Past Forward Heritage Services who were doing a book on the Fassett Lumber Company.

movie film reelsIn January 1934 a local newspaper announced "An English moving picture corporation is taking pictures of lumbering operations of the Fassett Lumber Corporation at Fossmill". Donat Huneault a former employee remembered the film being made and shown to employees. Two men came to Fossmill. One was the cameraman. His name is not known, but Donat remembers he had a strong English accent. The other man was a salesman/producer. He picked the best lumber for the shots and so on. Donat recalled that the film was to be shown to the English buyers so they "could see that it (Canadian lumbering) was something special" and how "tough the guys were". He remembered that they hammed it up for the camera and made the work look harder than it was. Some were quite self conscious and a close look at the film shows them looking at the camera and occasionally making mistakes.

Articles in the "Canada Lumberman" in the early 30ís reported on the increased efforts by the Canadian Hardwood Bureau (Sydney Staniforth was the President) to promote lumber in the British market during the depression, and contained photos of displays at trade shows showing automobile frames1920s carand other products that came from Canadian Hardwood. The movie was probably made to be shown at trade shows such as these. In the 30ís the narrator would stand just to the side or in front of the screen and narrate as it ran.

gramaphoneThe original film was silent so Past Forward decided to add music, narration and sound effects to the video. Ian Bell a musician and museum curator from Paris, Ontario suggested the use of music from a collection of old Canadian 78ís. It was recorded from an old Hand -cranked gramophone in the collection at the Norwich and District Museum near Woodstock, Ontario. Past Forward also decided to use some of the many photographs they had collected for the upcoming book at the beginning and end of the film to fill out the history of the company.

Some individuals in the film who have been identified so far are:

  • Donat Huneault: the young man cutting table legs on the twin blade table saw. 
  • Omer Sauve: The "dogger" on the carriage. 
  • John Orr: the engineer oiling the flywheel 
  • Joe Kunkle: the man on the left walking down the tramway. 
  • Paddy Dwyer: the "Saw Filer" 
  • Man (Emmanuel) Martin: the brakeman