Masculinity in Folklore: The Enduring Symbolism of the Canadian Lumberjack


Historical Popular Culture

How to Cite

Woloschuk, C. (2022). Masculinity in Folklore: The Enduring Symbolism of the Canadian Lumberjack. Pathways, 3(1), 5–13.


The nineteenth-century logging industry in North America produced working conditions that gave birth to many folk tales and folk heroes that have held firm, keeping the lumberjack a topic of popular culture that has endured for over a century. Through examining a historical painting and sketch inspired by the popular French-Canadian folktale La Chasse Galerie, present-day people can better understand the different historical influences, such as religion and ethnicity, that helped create folklore and ideas of masculinity within the timber trade in the Ottawa Valley. In addition, the masculinity that logging folk heroes and folk tales embody can help illustrate trends in modern resource extraction industries.


Baron, Ava. 2017. "Masculinity, the Embod- ied Male Worker, and the Historian's Gaze." International Labor and Working- Class History 69, no. 1 (Spring): 142–160.

Beaugrand, Honoré. 1900. La Chasse Galerie and Other Canadian Stories. Montreal: [s. n.]. Canadiana by CRKN. https://www.canadi-

Bramadat, Paul and David Seljak, eds. 2008.

Christianity and Ethnicity in Canada. Toronto, University of Toronto Press.

Carrington, Kerry, Alison McIntosh, and John Scott. 2010. “Globalization, Frontier Masculinities, and Violence: Booze, Blokes and Brawls.” British Journal of Criminology 50: 393–413. DOI:10.1093/bjc/azq003.

Christie, Nancy. 2003. ““On the Threshold of Manhood”: Working-Class Religion and Domesticity in Victorian Britain and Canada.” Histoire Sociale 36, no. 71: 145– 174.

Ennis, Gretchen, and Mary Finlayson. 2015. “Alcohol, Violence, and a Fast Growing Male Population: Exploring a Risky-Mix in “Boomtown” Darwin.” Social Work in Public Health 30: 51-63. DOI: 10.1080/19371918.2014.938392

Gillis, Sandra J. and Parks Canada National Historic Parks and Sites Branch. 1975. The Timber Trade in the Ottawa Valley, 180–- 54. National Historic Parks and Sites Branch, Parks Canada, Department of Indian and Northern Affairs.

Goldenberg, S. M., J. A. Shoveller, M. Koehoorn, and A. S. Ostry. 2010. “And They Call This Progress? Consequences for Young People of Living and Working in Resource-Extraction Communities.” Critical Public Health 20, no. 2: 157-168.

Higgins, John C. 1935. "The Lumberjack in American Literature: His Life and Customs, His Slang, His Ballads and Shanties, and his Folk-Epic of Paul Bunyan." Master's thesis, University of Southern California.

Holdsworth, Deryck W. 1995. ""I’m a Lumberjack and I’m OK”: The Built Environment and V aried Masculinities in the Industrial Age.” Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture 5: 11–25.

Julien, Henri. 1906. La Chasse-Galerie. Oil on canvas, 53.5 cm x 66.5 cm (21 in x 26.1 in). Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Québec City, Québec, Canada. asse-galerie_(1906).jpg.

Julien, Henri. 1900. La Chasse Galerie and Other Canadian Stories. Montréal: [s. n.]. 8. Beaugrand_-_La_chasse- galerie,_1900_(illustration_p_08).png.

Lee, David. 2006. Logging and Lumbering in the Ottawa Valley: Lumber Kings and Shantymen. Toronto, James Lorimer & Company LTD.

Lexico Online Dictionary powered by Oxford English Dictionary. n.d. “Lumbersexual Definition.” Accessed August 5, 2022. www.lexi-

Lower, Arthur R.M. 1973. Great Britain's Woodyard: British America and the Timber Trade, 1763–1867. Montreal, McGill-Queen's University Press.

Lower, Arthur R.M. 1938. North American Assault on the Canadian Forest: History of the Lumber Trade Between Canada and the United States. Toronto, The Ryerson Press.

MacKay, Donald. 2007. The Lumberjacks. Third Edition. Toronto, Natural Heritage Books A Member of the Dundurn Group.

Marsh, James H. 2006. “Birchbark Canoe.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. Accessed July 29, 2022. www.thecanadianencyclo-

Maynard, Steven. 1989. “Rough Work and Rugged Men: The Social Construction of Masculinity in Working-Class History.” Labour/Le Travail 23: 159–170.

Mosse, George L. 1996. The Image of Man: The Creation of Modern Masculinity. New York, Oxford University Press.

O’Shaughnessy, Sara, and Naomi T. Krogman. 2011. “Gender as Contradiction: From Dichotomies to Diversity in Natural Resource Extraction.” Journal of Rural Studies 27: 134–143.

Parsons, Sean, and Emily Ray. 2020. “Drill Baby Drill: Labor, Accumulation, and the Sexualization of Resource Extraction.” Theory & Event 23, no. 1: 248–270.

Phillips, Richard S. 1995. “Spaces of Adven- ture and Cultural Politics of Masculinity: R. M. Ballantyne and The Young Fur Traders.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 13 no. 5: 591–608.

Quan-Wickham, Nancy. 1999. “Rereading Man’s Conquest of Nature: Skill, Myths, and the Historical Construction of Mascu- linity in Western Extractive Industries.” Men and Masculinities 2, no. 2: 135–151.

Rotundo, Anthony E. 1993. American Manhood: Transformations in Masculinity from the Revolution to the Modern Era. New Y ork: Basic Books. https://hdl- handle- 01.

Roussel, Jean-François. 2003. “Roman Catho- lic Religious Discourse About Manhood in Quebec: From 1900 to the Quiet Revolu- tion (1960-1980).” The Journal of Men’s Studies 11, no. 2: 145–155.

Steward, K. Bernice, and Homer A. Watt. 1916. "Legends of Paul Bunyan, Lumber- jack," in Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters Volume XVIII, Part II. Edited by Arthur Beatty. Madison, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, 639–651. bin/WI/WI-idx?id=WI.WT1916.

Woloschuk, Caitlin M. 2022. "Photograph of CCN/NCC Canada's A River of Many Stories: Loggers and Log Drivers' Plaque." Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2022 Caitlin Woloschuk