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Log Drive

Logs! Thousands upon thousands of them tumbled along the Bow River, crashing through the swift water like wooden torpedoes. The people of Calgary had never seen a spring like the one of 1887 when the Eau Claire and Bow River Lumber Company decided to float the result of an entire winter's worth of logging from its holdings in Kananaskis and upper Bow River down to its mill at Calgary. The undertaking was a new experience, not only for the people of Calgary, but for the lumber company itself, and the first log drive on the Bow River was not without its problems and tragedies.

The river itself was a challenge. It possessed many idiosyncrasies and displayed every one for the log drivers. The Bow ran fast in some places, slow in others. Deep in some areas, in others it was so shallow that it was almost impossible to wade across. It could twist and turn like a snake. As a result, the Bow easily tossed up on shore almost as many logs as it floated downstream. The log drive took all summer before it reached the Calgary mill, with a major part of the job being just keeping the logs in the river.