Kawartha Lakes Public Library - Digital Collections
Looking Back: Whistles
, p. 30

Hooper, John, Author
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Item Type:
Written: 20 April 1995
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.35012 Longitude: -78.73286
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Kawartha Lakes Public Library
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Lindsay, ON K9V 2Y6
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Full Text

There it was that nagging feeling that would rear its ugly face every time I would visit Lindsay. What is it that is missing in this town that was so prevalent when I lived here?

Meeting Vern Stubbings, a former school chum of mine, at King & Caroline Sts. he expounded on how well he liked to read my column and how he loved to reminisce at the stories he would read about way back when we were young guys about the town.

You know Jack, I wish you would do a column about the factory whistles that we were so used to hearing in this town.

That was it! That was what I was missing so much. The whistles, that were so much a part of our lives and whose sounds we were so dependent upon. The whistles that called people to labor at 7.00 AM, to refreshment at 12 noon, back to labor at 1.00 PM and again to refreshment at the end of the day at 5.00 PM five days a week and a half day on Saturdays.

Without a doubt the highest pitched whistle belonged to Horn Bros. Woolen Mill on William St. north. This whistle could be heard in every corner of Lindsay and many other factories relied on it to signal their employees to start or cease work.

I would venture to say that the second loudest whistle that sounded in a medium tone would have to have been that of Allen & Hanburys that was located on King St. at St. Patrick. I recall how thrilled I was when I was given the opportunity by Chief Engineer Herschel Rayhms to "pull" the whistle one day at noon.

Then there was the Lindsay Knitters located on Logie Street. Theirs' was

one with a very low tone but still everyone recognized that "steamboat" sound that it had.

Going one step farther, I then remembered St. Mary's ringing the Angelus. This took place every morning at 7.00 AM, 12 noon and 6.00 PM seven days a week.

I contacted my good friend Sir Guy Mills to inquire why the church had ceased this practice and he informed me that it was due to neighbors who were employed in jobs that required them to do shift work and claimed that it was disrupting their sleep.

Father Monsignor John McCauley ordered the ringing to cease with the only exception being for funerals, said Guy.

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Looking Back: Whistles