Tune: Buffalo Skinners

Come all ye jolly lumbermen and listen to my song,
But do not get discouraged, the length it is not long,
Concerning of some lumbermen who did agree to go,
To spend one pleasant winter u in Canada-i-o.

It happened late one season in the fall of ‘fifty-three,
A preacher of the gospel one morning came to me,
Said he, "My jolly fellow, how would you like to go,
"To spend one pleasant winter up in Canada-i-o?"

To him I quickly made reply and unto him did say,
"This going out to Canada depends upon the pay.
If you will pay good wages, my passage to and fro,
I think I’ll go along with you to Canada-i-o."

"Yes, we will pay good wages and will pay your passage out,
Provided you sign papers that you will stay the route.
But if you do get homesick and swear that home you’ll go,
We never can your passage pay from Canada-i-o."

It was by his gift of flattery he enlisted quite a train,
Some twenty-five or thirty, both well and able men.
We had a pleasant journey, o’er the road we had to go,
Till we landed at Three Rivers up in Canada-i-o.

After we had suffered there some eight or ten long weeks,
We arrived at headquarters up among the lakes,
We thought we’d found a paradise, at least they told us so,
God grant there may be no worse hell than Canada-i-o.

To describe what we have suffered is past the art of man,
But to give a fair description, I will do the best I can.
Our food, the dogs would snarl at it, our beds were in the snow,
We suffered worse than murders up in Canada-i-o.

Our hearts were made of iron and our souls were cased in steel,
The hardships of that winder could never make us yield,
Field, Philips, and Norcross, they found their match, I know,
Among the boys that went from Maine to Canada-i-o.

But now our lumbering is over and we are returning home,
To greet our wives and sweethearts and never more to roam,
To greet our wives and sweethearts and never more to go
Unto the God-forsaken place called Canada-i-o.

Folksinger’s Workbook; Compiled & Edited by Fred & Irwin Silber; Oak Publications, New York, 1973