The Communities : WHERE THEY CAME FROM
Group of loggers including Chinese logger
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The growing forest industry in the Cowichan area was an excellent place to find employment. Experienced and inexperienced people who weren't afraid of hard work were welcomed. Many immigrants heard of the jobs available in logging before even reaching British Columbia through friends and family.
Although the conditions could be very tough, the companies were always looking for loggers, and a lack of training was no obstacle. In some cases, men would work until they had had enough, then take off for the city with their pay, or move to another camp and begin work there. Out of sight of supervisors, the conditions in the woods allowed the fallers to make their own decisions. This sense of freedom appealed to many.
As operations grew steadily, more camps opened and towns supplied homes and communities for the loggers, allowing them to raise families and participate in religious, cultural and entertainment activities. The attraction was still the work and the apparently endless supply of timber, but there was a chance to make a good life and home in Cowichan.
First Train to Lake Cowichan
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All kinds of people,- men and women, Asian and European, veteran loggers and new workers- poured into the area. In the camps and towns, they learned about each others' cultural backgrounds, sometimes with eagerness and sometimes with trepidation. Fred Roland, who began working at a logging camp during the Depression at the age of 12, mentions: "You picked up all kind of languages in the logging camps. I was working with Russian guys one time. I learned to speak Russian and they quit." From camps to communities, in one way or another these people came to Cowichan because of its forests.