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History of the Lumber Industry of America
Chapter XXIII. Prince Edward Island


Nine miles off the coast of New Brunswick at its nearest point, lies Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. At one time it was covered with a considerable forest growth. It was visited in 1534 by Jacques Cartier on his first voyage to the new world. In the “ Relation Originate,” a description of Cartier’s voyage, is found the following concerning Prince Edward Island:

“That day we coasted along the. said land nine or ten leagues, trying to find some harbor, which we could not; for, as I have said before, it is a land low and shallow. We went ashore in four places to see the trees, largely of the very finest and sweet smelling, and found that there were cedars, pines, white elms, ashes, willows and many other to us unknown. The lands where there are no woods are very beautiful.”

Despite Cartier’s failure to find a good harbor, the present capital city of Charlottetown is located on one of the most excellent harbors of the Dominion. Georgetown, in King’s County, situated at the juncture of the Cardigan, Montague and Brudenell rivers, was formerly called the “ Port of Three Rivers,” and was the center of the timber trade.

While the island once possessed forests of considerable area, these have been largely removed by forest fires, lumbermen and shipbuilders. At one time the island was quite generally covered with timber, but now all that remain are small growths of balsam, fir and spruce and even smaller quantities of pine, larch, maple, poplar, beech, birch and cedar. The total area of the island is about 2,184 square miles, of which 797 square miles remain in forest woodlands. Of this latter area at least forty percent is timber of merchantable size.

In 1903 a forestry commission was created by an act of the legislature. The Province receives no revenue from forest lands, but hopes to do valuable service in reafforesting denuded areas and conserving the remaining timber.

According to the census of 1901, relating to lumber products, there were in the census year eight establishments of that character in Prince Edward Island with an invested capital of $223,500. These gave employment to ninety-five wage-earners and paid out $30,772 annually in wages. The cost of materials employed was $49,406 and the value of the annual product, $118,150. The following affords a comparison concerning the lumber industry for a period of ten years:


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