Important dates in the development of the lumber industry in the Hearst region

1918 – The first sawmills in the Hearst region become operational.

1925 – The Doucet, Huard (Jogues), Poliquin (Hallébourg) and Dupuis (Mattice) sawmills are in place and functioning.

1934 – Noé Fontaine resides in Mattice where he operates a sawmill and a planer.

1936 – Noé Fontaine obtains logging rights in the Hanlan Township and establishes a sawmill near Wolverine Lake (a location now known as Passe-à-Fontaine).

1939 – Adélard Haman and Arthur Lecours obtain logging rights in the Stoddart Township; they both establish sawmills near Carey Lake.

1941-42 – Noé Fontaine moves his planer from Mattice to Hearst and builds sawmills near the Kabina River and at Lac Sainte.Thérèse.

1942 – Fred Lecours (Arthur’s brother) establishes a sawmill at Angelina Lake. The mill is moved to Calstock in 1951.

1944 – Ernest Gosselin purchases Arthur Lecours’ Carey Lake sawmill and builds another mill in Calstock.

1946 – Following Noé Fontaine’s death, his son Zacharie takes charge of the Fontaine Lumber company.

1947-48 – J. D. Levesque buys Raoul Létourneau’s Hearst planer in 1947 and Willie Létourneau's Kabina River sawmill.

1948 – Henry Selin establishes his sawmill at Nassau Lake and harvests timber on territory belonging to Transcontinental Timber.

1953 – J. D. Levesque builds the Ritchie Lake sawmill, north of Hearst. His sons Réal and Yvon take charge of the Kabina River mill.

1955 – The Fontaine sawmill at Lac Sainte.Thérèse ceases all activities.

1956 – Three of Arthur Lecours’ sons, François, Paul and Jules, purchase their uncle Fred’s Calstock mill. They create F. P. & J. Lecours Co. Ltd.

1958 – René Fontaine buys out his father Zacharie’s Fontaine's Landing mill and moves it north of Calstock. He operates there under the name Polar Lumber.

1962 – The Levesque Plywood factory begins production with roughly 50 employees. The company belongs to Yvon and Hervé Levesque.

1962 – A forty-day long strike precedes the signature of the first bargaining agreement between the newly unionized Henry Selin Forest Products workers and their employer.

1963 – J. D. Levesque inaugurates a new electricity-powered sawmill in Hearst, which can produce wood chips. The steam-powered Kabina River and Ritchie sawmills are closed.

1965 – René Fontaine opens his new Hearst sawmill. His father, Zacharie, dies the same year.

1965 – The Levesque Plywood factory is destroyed by fire. It is rebuilt and production picks up again the following year.

1967 – Henry Selin Forest Products experiences financial difficulties and is sold to Moses Helper of Toronto.

1969 - Réal Levesque, owner of Hearst Transport and Lumber, buys Mattice Lumber.

1970 – The Henry Selin Forest Products company is shut down permanently.

1970 – Levesque Plywood inaugurates a presswood board factory. These boards are made of sawdust and other residues produced by sawmills.

1972 – Employees of several sawmills and factories are represented by the Lumber and Sawmills Workers’ Union, local 2995.

1972 – A majority of sawmills install dry kilns for their lumber.

1974 – Newaygo Timber, an American company, inaugurates a modern sawmill in Mead worth an estimated $5 million.

1974 – Levesque Lumber buys out Spruce Dale Lumber from the Christianson family of Mattice.

1975 – Levesque Lumber builds a new, more modern sawmill in Hearst.

1982 – United Sawmill partner companies unite to operate under one single name.

1982 – Lecours Lumber Co. Ltd. buys out Gosselin Lumber.

1984 – The Newaygo sawmill is permanently shut down.

1985 – The Hearst Forest Management Agreement is signed by Lecours Lumber Co. Ltd. and United Sawmill. The new enterprise Hearst Forest Management coordinates the logging and regeneration of the forest.

1989 – United Sawmill is sold to Malette Inc. of Timmins.

1992 – The Levesque Lumber sawmill is forced to close down due to financial difficulties.

1994 – Malette Inc. is sold to Tembec Industries Inc. of Abitibi, giving the last remaining sawmill inside the town of Hearst a new owner.

1995 – Levesque Plywood is sold to Columbia Forest Products, based in Portland, Oregon.


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