For decades, the pulp and paper industry was the jewel in the crown of Canada’s economy. Today, with so many mills closing down, what future is there for the forestry communities that sprang up and prospered around them? Through lucid, inspired testimonials by former workers, this film delves into the industry’s glorious past and gauges the true impact of mill closings on local populations and on the way the forest is managed.
In Trois-Rivières, Quebec, countless businesses declared bankruptcy after the closure of the CIP plant, once the largest paper mill in the world. In the 1950s, the town of Smooth Rock Falls, Ontario, experienced the steepest population growth in Canada. Since the mill closed, the town has become a mere shadow of its former self, and many ex-factory workers now find themselves trapped, unable to sell their homes. In Miramichi, New Brunswick, the closed mill is still an open wound, especially given that major investments had sparked hope among its citizens.
These are the typical effects of mill closings, which have had a devastating impact on cities in eastern Canada over the past 15 years. Through lucid, inspired testimonials by former workers, filmmaker Simon Rodrigue paints a picture of a pulp and paper industry transformed by biased political decisions and corporate greed.
In addition to revealing the long-term economic impact of the mill closings on these three communities, the documentary also captures the stories of families torn apart by forced separation, the despair of those who worked in the industry all their lives, and the concern of those who witness the disastrous management of the forest land by the pulp and paper giants. When a mill shuts down, job losses are only the beginning: ultimately, it is our communities and shared legacy that crumble.
Researched, Written and Directed by
With the participation of Trois-Rivières
With the participation of Smooth Rock Falls
With the participation of Miramichi
Scale Model Building
Technical Coordinator – Shooting Equipment
Digital Editing Technicians
Graphic Design and Titles
Jean Paul Vialard
Smooth Rock Falls Heritage Centre
Produced by the National Film Board of Canada