The Whistle

The whistle at the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Mill served a variety of purposes following its introduction to the soundscape of Corner Brook. The best known function is surely its use to mark the passage of time during the work day. It sounded regularly to mark the start and end of shifts and the lunch hour. However, it also had an important function as a safety device that would notify workers of a fire or accident in the mill. Based on the pattern of short and long blasts, workers could identify the location of the problem and report there. In a similar fashion, particular patterns of sound would notify the volunteer fire brigade of the location of fires in the community.

Soon the whistle was used in several other ways. When an individual went missing in the woods, the whistle would be sounded repeatedly for an extended period of time in the hope that the person would find his way home by walking towards the sound. A blast of the whistle marked the start of the New Year. During the war years, the whistle sounding in a specific pattern was the signal for the Home Guard to assemble in the event of enemy attack and it sometimes served as an air raid siren.When the war ended, the whistle sounded for an extended period of time in celebration and it became part of local Remembrance Day ceremonies, marking the start and end of the two minutes of silence observed at 11am.

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