Saturday, July 30, 2016

New Waterford Siren

When people in Cape Breton hear that I have a research project devoted to the Corner Brook mill whistle, they often ask me if I've been to New Waterford to hear the "whistle" that sounds every night at 8:30pm. In fact, I was asked it so many times between 2008 and 2010 that I actually made a pilgrimage to New Waterford with a friend one evening to make a recording.

This recording was made on Wednesday, 14 April 2010 while parked in the Pharmasave parking lot. My notes from that evening point out two things: 1) it is not at all like the mill whistle I've been researching in terms of its sound and 2) the decay is quite long. In fact, I wouldn't classify this as a whistle at all, but as a siren.

I have been told by a colleague that this whistle/siren no longer serves its original purpose, which seems to have been to notify the community of an accident at the nearby mine. Today, it sounds every evening and is used to mark an informal curfew -- children know that when it sounds they have to head home or they at least need to check in with their parents. Unlike the mill whistle in Corner Brook, it doesn't appear to have other purposes (such as marking the two minutes of silence on Remembrance Day).

Do you know more about the whistle/siren in New Waterford? I'd love to hear from you!

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