Logging With Oxen

Mural #7

Mural #7 — Logging with Oxen

18.3M X 3.7M (60’ X 12’), Waterwheel Parking Lot
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Artist: Harold Lyon
Painted in 1983. Restored in 2005 by Cim MacDonald.

Around 1898, oxen were the main form of power in logging, where good timber was available. “Large, well-equipped outfits used twenty to twenty-four oxen. These were divided into two teams: one drawing the logs from the bush to the road, while the other and stronger team was employed in skidding the logs to the water. Crude roads were made and small logs embedded skillfully athwart them at 8-foot intervals. These were the skid-roads over which the oxen drew the logs to the sea.” (R.I. Dougan, from Cowichan My Valley).

Since the ox’s hoof has a thin shell, the oxen were carefully shod with thin, half-moon shaped iron shoes. The job of shoeing the oxen was done on Sundays or after hours by the “teamsters”, with assistance from a young helper, the “greaser”.