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WebWise Inc. are very concerned
about our cities heritage and it's traditions. For this reason we feel
obligated to publish the latest feedback on the loss of our Foghorn. If you
wish to publish your concerns please let us know, the more noise the better!...
The letters below were taken from the
opinions page of the Times Globe, May 20/98
Making NOISE about our silent Foghorn
was city's signature
Bureaucrats sure know how to take away part of
the soul of a community.
I heard the
bad news on TV. A Coast Guard spokesman named Hope (his name sure wasn't
appropriate) announced that an important part of the history and ambiance of
your great city -the foghorn on Partridge Island - is to be permanently
silenced. Mr. Hope: Say it isn't so!
From 1962 to
1966, we lived just off Sand Cove Road on the West Side. Some of our fondest
memories of what Bliss Carman called that "peerless hearted port of heroes"
were the sounds that emanated from the harbour. There were ships blowing
whistles for tug assistance, and, in the morning and evening, you could set
your watch by the dulcet tones of the twin whistles of the Princess ships as
they cleared or entered port.
Foulis' foghorn was Saint John's signature. It was a deep basso profundo, not
like those sissy, high-pitched electronic freaks which now are heard around our
coastline. It had a sedative effect, and it lulled us to sleep on many a foggy
night. I can't imagine Saint John being the same without it.
If I were
living in Saint John now, I'd be leading the fight for its retention. I
anticipate that all you genial and amiable Saint Johners soon become
disagreeable and irritable due to lack of sleep.
about the foghorn's utility for modern navigation? It's the nostalgia that
Our Foghorn - don't dismantle it!
Please print this letter, a copy of one sent
to Fisheries Minister David Anderson:
We have been
advised that the foghorn on Partridge Island has been turned off by your
department. Furthermore, the Canadian Coast Guard will be dismantling it. This,
in our opinion, is an outrage.
invented the foghorn and the coding system that went with it in Saint John.
These inventions have been credited as the greatest saver of seamen's lives and
ships worldwide until the invention of radar. The first system was placed on
Partridge Island. This means that this foghorn has not only local but national
and international significance.
We love our
foghorn. So do our tourists. We have boasted, and rightfully so, about it for
buildings receive protection from the federal government. This foghorn, as
mentioned previously, has worldwide significance. Instead of shutting it off
and dismantling it, we are asking for the foghorn to be protected and also that
Partridge Island, which as you know, has Canadian historic significance,
receive the protection and funding from the federal government which it so
truly deserves. Partridge Island was there to receive our ancestors when they
immigrated to this great country. It was also there to protect us during two
the decision to turn off the foghorn and dismantle it. Thank you for your
consideration of this request.
617 Charles Street West,
pays tribute to Partridge Island
I wrote this
poem about 30 years ago when I used to take my children to Bayshore during
summer holidays. I've always kept it hoping that some day I might use
the paper ("Fog but no horn", May 5), I thought I would send it and perhaps you
might publish it. Thank you very much.
At the entrance to
Long before Saint John was named,
This old island stood as
In the days before Champlain.
Many storms and gales it
many bleak and foggy nights,
Perhaps a ship-wrecked sailor
Long before the Beacon Light.
Then a Scot named Robert
Settled here and gained renown,
by erecting there a foghorn
At the entrance to Parrtown.
It holds many untold
of war days and others seen,
How Irish immigrants were buried
When they died in quarantine.
It has seen the Marco
Square-rigged masts of bygone days,
The Loyalist spring and summer
and merchant vessel Jervis Bay.
Now, today, a rocky
Links it with Fort Dufferin's sands,
Through the night it
blinks its signal
Guiding ships of foreign lands.
Not a townsman, tourist or
Hasn't heard that mournful sound,
Of the foghorn on the
Warning "Peril!", "Danger!", "Ground!"
by D. ERNESTINE SMITH
Saint John, N.B.
Updates From Concerned Citizens
foghorn magnifies city's neglect
Please print this letter, a copy of one sent to federal
Fisheries Minister David Anderson:
realize the subject I am writing to you about may seem trivial in nature,
however, it is something that I do feel should be addressed. The foghorn at
Partridge Island at the entrance to Saint John Harbor, as you may or may not
know, has been casually turned off like a light switch in a dusty old
Department of Fisheries and Oceans may have casually flipped the switch, but to
a Saint Johner who grew up with the sound of that foghorn, a piece of me was
switched off, too.
was once the centre of shipbuilding steeped in tradition, history and pride
coupled with a world-class port and spin-off employment. Since the collapse of
both, Saint John has been graced with chronic unemployment, a problem a lot of
people who live there attribute to federal trading and transportation policy,
and more recently the refusal of the federal Industry Minister to recognize the
fact our country requires a national shipbuilding policy
What has this
got to do with a foghorn, you ask? I believe the foghorn may act as a lighting
rod, one which magnifies the neglect that the city, and, in fact, the entire
region has suffered as a result of federal governments who are more interested
in Ontario and Quebec, (i.e. votes) than anything else.
Saint John feel that your government has done very little for the city and the
region as a whole. As trivial as it may sound, that foghorn represents what the
city of Saint John has meant, or in some cases not meant, to Canada. A simple
switch to be turned off without consideration for the history of the city or
first foghorn was invented in Saint John, an invention that has been replicated
around the world, and has saved countless lives. It should also be mentioned
that a good number of pleasure boaters still do not use radar. Tourist also
like the foghorn. When they pay to see the city and can't, as a result of fog,
the least they should get is a blast from the foghorn to take home with
compare to the employment problems in the manufacturing, shipbuilding or retail
industry, or even more recently the needless announcement of the closure of the
Lantic Sugar Refinery (another poor policy decision)? No, not even close.
However, by turning the foghorn back on, the government can send a symbolic
message of hope to Saint John and her residents for the future.
would be that with the new millennium, neglect from the federal government as
well as their provincial cousins, can, and will not be tolerated, and that
there is a hope for the future for Saint John and her residents as long as all
concerned parties, public and private, work together to ensure it.
advised the opinions expressed are solely the opinion of the author and do not
in any way, shape or form represent Public Works and Government Services
Canada, or any other organization in or outside the federal government of
Wilfrid Lavigne Boulevard, Aylmer, Que.
you that you're home
Saint Johners, I can't perceive our cherished foggy city without its
to the editor on May 20 regarding the silencing of the foghorn brought back
sweet memories of childhood to me. I can still hear that distinctive moan
lulling me to sleep.
ago, such memories prompted me to write the enclosed poem when, after living
away from Saint John for many years, a return visit found me laying in bed
listening to that familiar sound, a sound that definitely implied "you're
As one of
your readers put it, Saint John will never be the same without it. Perhaps the
poem will evoke sweet memories for some of your other readers.
The fog lies thick along the
It blankets every form in sight
A heavy mist, profound and grey
It lingers on both day and night.
The foghorn blows, an eerie
To strangers mingling in our midst
But native sons have somehow
It soothing comfort in the mist.
The horn is like a mother's
Sometimes a shout when danger's near
But more, it means a watchful
When all is well, have no fear.
And most of all, it says
Be it the fog has made you blind
And though the sun
shines when you roam
It can't replace the foghorn's cry.
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