This Month's Lumber King
As the founder of the city of Hull (originally, Wrightstown) in the early 1800s, Philemon Wright was an integral player to Canada’s early history. To finance his building operations, he turned to the one resource that European markets could not get enough of—massive, old-growth white pines. In 1806 he beat all odds and floated his first 600 logs down the Ottawa River and on to Quebec City, where they were sent to British markets.
From that point until his death in 1839, Wright continued to achieve the impossible. He devised chutes to pass his logs safely over the deadly rapids of the Ottawa, and in 1819 he harnessed a steamship to tow his log rafts.
Wright, and later his sons, were integral components in the advancement of the Ottawa Valley logging boom. If it wasn’t for his vision, maybe the J. R. Booths and John Egans of Canada’s history would never have cut the 13.5 billion logs that floated down the Ottawa River from the time of Wright’s death until the 1950s—and maybe the 5 percent of those logs that sank beneath the surface would not still be there, lying in wait to be raised again.