In the latter half of the 19th century, the Markstay-Warren area was dominated by stands of white and red pine. Accordingly, the lumber industry was the first major industry to impact the area. The coming of the railroad to the area opened Markstay-Warren for timber exploration; lumber companies quickly obtained timber rights from the crown and sent crews of surveyors and engineers to report on the area. For the first decades of settlement in the area, the railway was primarly used for the transport of loggers, supplies, and lumber. At the height of the timber boom, the largest lumber camp in the area employed more than two hundred men. The sheer amount of timber that came from the area led to numerous sawmills locating in Markstay, Warren, and Hagar.
Railway operations formed the other major industry in the early years of the area. Until the 1910's, Sudbury was only accessible by rail; it was connected to Ottawa and Montreal in 1883 and to Toronto in 1908. The mining boom in Sudbury brought increased rail traffic and demand for timber, firewood, and agriculture goods. Accordingly, the increased movement of people and goods turned Markstay into a rapidly growing railway town, and industry in the Markstay-Warren area grew to meet the demands of Sudbury.