When the clock struck midnight on February 14, 1949, the normally quiet streets of the small town of Asbestos, Quebec, were packed with nearly 2,000 workers from the Jeffrey Mine who were ready to go on strike.
Later that Valentine’s Day morning, 3,000 more miners from the neighbouring Thetford Mine joined the walkout, and what followed was one of the longest and most brutal labour disputes in the province’s history.
Since the late 19th century, Quebec, and especially Asbestos, was the largest producer and exporter of the eponymous mineral. Asbestos was popularly used for insulation, soundproofing and fireproofing, and American and English-Canadian owned companies, such as Johns-Manville, Asbestos Corp., and Flintkote all set up operations around Quebec’s Eastern Townships. Continue Reading →