About the Town

The Town of Deer Lake has a rich heritage and a history which dates back to 1864 when the first settlers, under the leadership of George Aaron Nichols, arrived from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. These settlers were originally loggers and trappers, however, given the suitable climate and soil conditions, many later took up farming. Deer Lake derived its name from the many Caribou that could be seen crossing the large lake. These Caribou were mistaken for Deer, hence the name.

In 1922, a work camp was established to support the International Pulp and Paper Company. This camp would later become the Town of Deer Lake, with a formal townsite being constructed in 1925. Infrastructure at the time included a railroad terminal, places of worship and a small hospital. Incorporation took place in 1950. An airport was built in 1955. This has grown to be the main airport in the region, as well as a significant employer for the town.

The Town of Deer Lake, with a population of approximately 5000, has a rich heritage and you can explore it by visiting our local heritage museum. Throughout the town you can see glimpses of the past. From the Deer Lake Powerhouse to the Centagraph in honor of those who lost their lives in the wars of the past.

Information on the Deer Lake Municipal Park Deer Lake Municipal Park


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 AM on July 1st, Armistice or Memorial Day, and at 11 AM on November 11th, Remembrance Day.

When a person was presumed lost in the early days of Deer Lake, the whistle would blow every ½ 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”.