Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.
A timber slide was a device for moving timber past rapids and waterfalls. The image here is of the main timber slide at Ottawa looking toward Canada’s parliament buildings. The men are riding a timber crib, which would carry up to 50 logs tied together down the chute. The ride was very fast and hilariously wet, which often attracted visiting dignitaries. In 1850, it was reported that up to 500 cribs went through this slide in one day. The logs were on their way to Montreal for shipment overseas.
Studio of William James Topley (1845-1930), Ottawa portrait photographer. View full size.