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In the late 1870's the Laurentians was experiencing a period of growth and prosperity. A Canadian currency had been created, successfully stabilizing trade, and the railway era was in full swing. As a result, lumber was becoming a more important product along the routes serviced by rail. Up until the trains arrived, the lumber industry was more dependent upon the river systems, and that meant that the forests further away were in less demand. Since it was uneconomical to transport lumber from where there were no river or rail links, the trees were burned and the ashes, transformed into potash, were carried out for sale.

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