The tale of the four Dubreuil brothers is one that could surprise even the most enterprising individuals. As young men, they all worked for their father in a small family business, building doors, windows and frames. Later they got involved in the sawmill business.
Following the death of their father in 1945, the Dubreuil brothers decided to work together to earn their living. With $1,000.00 in equity, Dubreuil Brothers Limited was established. In 1947, the four brothers from Taschereau, Québec ventured to Ontario to earn a living. While working as small lumber harvesting contractors in the vast Northern Ontario wilderness, they were successful in obtaining lot concessions from the Algoma Central Railway in 1951. With this new contract they recruited approximately thirty men from the Taschereau region, built two sawmills and approximately thirty houses along the Magpie River. This is how the small town of Magpie was born at approximately 274 kilometers (170 miles) north of Sault Ste. Marie, located 19 kilometers (12 miles) from the railway. (hence the use of the name Magpie in our name)
The four brothers were very innovative and have several Canadian forestry and sawmill innovations to their credit. In 1958, thanks to Augustin Dubreuil’s ingenuity, the “Spoutnik” (named after the first rocket launched into space) was created. This piece of equipment consisted of a single operator mobile loader which was capable of bringing the full length logs into the sawmill plant. The device could select the length of the logs it wanted to cut using hydaulics to lift cut plates stopping the logs at the desired length and then running the circular slasher down on them so that they could fall into the water basins giving the bark a quick wash before proceeding into the sawmill production lines. This invention was quickly adopted by many other sawmills in Canada, the United States and even Sweden. Bringing full length logs to the sawmills changed how logging piles were measured and calculated. The new practice was also more ecological because less waste remained in the bush.
As the Dubreuil brothers were not quite satisfied with the Magpie establishment, they undertook the necessary measures to obtain more cutting rights 23 kilometers (14 miles) north-east of Magpie. This is how the community of Dubreuilville was born in 1961. Approximately 200 people were moved from Magpie to Dubreuilville. Whole houses were moved from Magpie to Dubreuilville and other new houses were built. The entire upper part of Dubreuilville, immediately after the entrance to the sawmill, was heated using excess steam heat generated by the sawmill boilers. Economies of scale, the better good of all were always at the center of every decision they made. They were very mindful of their employees well being.
In 1962, the road connecting Dubreuilville to the Trans-Canada Highway (now known as HWY 519) was built and paid for by the Dubreuil Borthers company and was controlled by an access gate. Dubreuilville known as a gated town. Vehicles had to check-in at the gate located at the Trans-Canada turnoff in order to obtain permission to access the road and the town. If you did not have a reason to be in Dubreuilville, you would be denied access and would have to go back to where you came from. This was mainly done in order to control traffic as the logging trucks ran the length of the road on a daily basis. A CB radio was required or the gate master would provide the clearance for you to proceed with caution
Between 1961 to 1977, Dubreuilville was considered as a non-incorporated municipality. it was a company town; no need for cash to buy what was on your grocery list or to procure any services. All you needed to do was show your badge number at the local grocery store, restaurant or concession to make your purchases and it would automatically be deducted from your paycheck. Everything was simple.
Today, however, Dubreuilville offers you a multitude of opportunities. While the main industry has changed from the lumber industry to a more Gold mining focus, forestry and the management of its assets remain the heart and sole of this little Northern Ontario Francophone gem. The gate came down in 1978 and people can visit at their leisure.
Dubreuilville is a vibrant community, with all the accommodations and services you need, including high-speed internet access. The town has come a long way from its humble beginnings. It is time for you to come and experience the freedom of Dubreuilville for yourself! We are waiting for you.