WHERE THE WHIS­TLE BLOWS

New columnist proud of his lo­cal roots

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - Jeremy Fraser Jeremy Fraser is a re­porter for the Cape Breton Post. The 22-year-old grew up play­ing base­ball, hockey and soc­cer in the New Water­ford com­mu­nity. He grad­u­ated from Hol­land Col­lege in Char­lot­te­town, P.E.I., with a jour­nal­ism diploma, and has

Check out Jeremy Fraser’s new col­umn on life in New Water­ford.

Have you heard the 8:30 p.m. whis­tle blow?

Grow­ing up in New Water­ford, the his­toric whis­tle is one I’ve heard thou­sands of times. The nightly whis­tle has be­come a trade­mark in the com­mu­nity and on the rare oc­cur­rence when it doesn’t ring through the town, it’s no­tice­able.

Like many com­mu­ni­ties in Cape Breton, New Water­ford has its unique fea­tures that make it a great com­mu­nity to live.

The pop­u­la­tion of the com­mu­nity isn’t near where it was when the coal mines were in op­er­a­tion, but re­gard­less of where you live now, if you were born and raised in the town, New Water­ford will al­ways be home, a place you’re proud to talk about with your friends near and far.

If you’re not from New Water­ford, it’s hard to ex­plain what it’s like grow­ing up in the com­mu­nity, known to many out­siders as “Dodge City,” but you try your best to make peo­ple un­der­stand your per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences, as funny as they may seem at times.

I had the plea­sure of grow­ing up in New Water­ford for 22 years, a com­mu­nity I still call home to­day. Grow­ing up in New Water­ford, for me, con­sisted of two sea­sons, sum­mer and win­ter.

My sum­mer months con­sisted of play­ing road hockey with friends at the park­ing lot on Ma­hon Street, or play­ing base­ball at the Tuck­ers Ball Field or soc­cer at “The Turf.”

If you had your li­cense, the days con­sisted of “shoot­ing the drag” on Plum­mer Av­enue on a Fri­day night, or sim­ply park­ing at Young’s Car Wash chat­ting with friends for count­less hours be­cause you didn’t have enough money to put gas in the car to drive around all night. Yes, some may ask, how a per­son could spend so many hours park­ing in town? Well, speak­ing from ex­pe­ri­ence, let’s just say, with­out stir­ring the pot too much, there is never a dull mo­ment in New Water­ford, some­thing I’m sure many will agree with.

Dur­ing the win­ter months, the place to be was the New Water­ford and Dis­trict Com­mu­nity Cen­tre. I grew up play­ing hockey for New Water­ford Mi­nor Hockey, an as­so­ci­a­tion I was loyal to, spend­ing my whole mi­nor hockey ca­reer play­ing for the Sharks. For many oth­ers, if it wasn’t spend­ing time at “The Rink,” it was time spent prac­tis­ing and dream­ing of the day you would step on the court at Breton Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre in front of a full gym play­ing in the Coal Bowl Clas­sic.

Al­though my days of play­ing or­ga­nized sports have come and gone, I still stay ac­tive in the sports com­mu­nity, of­fi­ci­at­ing hockey dur­ing the win­ter months, as well as coach­ing base­ball and or­ga­niz­ing tour­na­ments in the sum­mer. Sports had a ma­jor in­flu­ence in my life in New Water­ford, and my spare time is used giv­ing back to these as­so­ci­a­tions.

The best part of New Water­ford has to be the res­i­dents. The com­mu­nity isn’t known as “The Friendly Town” for noth­ing. The res­i­dents are friendly and al­ways will­ing to help some­one in need. For ex­am­ple, ev­ery Novem­ber, the town holds its an­nual Com­bined Christ­mas Giv­ing telethon, where former and cur­rent res­i­dents make dona­tions to help those less for­tu­nate in the town at Christ­mas time. The telethon con­tin­ues to be suc­cess­ful each year, and the or­ga­niz­ers and res­i­dents are the ones to be thanked for its suc­cess.

With­out leav­ing any or­ga­ni­za­tion out, if it wasn’t for vol­un­teers, who knows where New Water­ford would be to­day. The com­mu­nity has some of the best vol­un­teers, many of whom don’t ask for recog­ni­tion for their ef­forts, sim­ply say­ing they vol­un­teer to make New Water­ford a com­mu­nity peo­ple want to live and raise a fam­ily.

In my monthly col­umn “Where the Whis­tle Blows,” re­fer­ring to the 8:30 p.m. whis­tle nightly, I will look at the past, the present and the fu­ture of the New Water­ford and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties of Scotch­town, River Ryan, Lin­gan and New Vic­to­ria. We will look at the com­mu­nity and sports his­tory, and the peo­ple, as well as the is­sues and con­ver­sa­tions sur­round­ing the area.

I’m proud to be from New Water­ford, and with that I look for­ward to shar­ing the his­tory, the peo­ple, as well as the is­sues and con­ver­sa­tions in col­umns to come.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO/NEW WATER­FORD VIN­TAGE PHO­TOS AND STO­RIES

This is how New Water­ford’s Plum­mer Av­enue looked, back around 1940.

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