The Town of Deer Lake has a rich heritage and a history which dates back to 1864. Since that time, the community has had a significant presence in the forestry, railroad, hydro-electric sectors and forestry sectors. This history can best be appreciated at the Roy Whalen Museum, located on the Trans Canada Highway. For brief history of Deer Lake, please click here.
Deer Lake Whistle
The whistle, located on the roof of the Deer Lake Power Company hydro plant and heard around Town, is actually an air raid siren brought over from England during the construction of the plant in the 1920s.
During the construction years and afterward it was used to call the workers to report for work, at lunch time and at the end of the work day. The whistle blows at 7 and 8 AM, at noon and 1 PM, and at 5 and 6 PM. It is heard throughout the community from Monday to Saturday but not on Sunday. The whistle also blows for one minute at 11 a.m. on July 1st, Armistice or Memorial Day, and at 11 a.m. on November 11th, Remembrance Day.
When a person was presumed lost in the early days of Deer Lake, the whistle would blow every half hour in hopes of guiding the person home. As the Town grew, the whistle was used to call the Volunteer Fire Brigade. A code was set up (a series of blows) to identify the street location of a fire. An alarm was phoned in to the control room of the “powerhouse” which was manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. An “all clear” blast signified that the fire was out.
The whistle has an important place in the history of Deer Lake and it can still be heard today. Many residents still arrange their days around it and mothers can still be heard telling their children “Be sure to come home when you hear the whistle.”