Our Roots

On March 8, 1900, a group of influential Canadians from government and industry gathered in the Railway Committee Room of the Canadian parliament buildings to lay the cornerstone of a new organization with a vision of conserving Canada’s most precious possession – its forests. 
The group included renowned lumber baron J.R. Booth, former Quebec Premier Sir Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière, William Little, Thomas Southworth, Dr. William Saunders, and Chief Inspector of Timber and Forestry for Canada Elihu Stewart. By end of day, the gavel had dropped on the first annual meeting of the CFA which was founded on five main objectives: – advocate and encourage judicious methods in dealing with Canada’s forests – awaken public interest in the dangers resulting from undue destruction of timber along rivers and streams – consider and recommend improvements regarding the development of forested public lands – promote tree planting in treeless areas, along streets and in parks of villages, towns and cities – collect and disseminate information on forestry issues for the benefit of the Canadian public.

Today, the Canadian Forestry Association is guided by these same key principles.

CFA Founder Elihu Stewart


Elihu Stewart, 1844 to 1935, was a serious, dedicated man who took up the challenge of spearheading forest conservation in Canada. He came to be known as the father of the Dominion Forest Service (later renamed the Canadian Forest Service), and the Canadian Forestry Association.

A dominion land surveyor from Collingwood ON, Elihu Stewart was appointed Chief Inspector of Timber and Forestry under the Department of the Interior on August 14 1899. Stewart’s appointment was strongly supported by Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier and his government. This move reflected an awakening recognition that Canada’s natural resources, once considered vast and everlasting, needed protection as they were being depleted at an alarming rate.