Northumberland Fisheries Museum & Heritage Association
Pictou, Nova Scotia

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Ice: A historic link for Pictou Islanders. The story of the Ice boat during the early 1900s.
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The Simpson family were always happy to give lodgings to Pictou Island ice men and travelers from Pictou Island, when a return trip could not be made.

Before the installation of the telephone system in 1927, important messages by using a burning torch.

Before 1921, when the first telephone was installed, Leslie Simpson managed a system relying on a torch of straw that he always had on hand and ready to go when the situation arose.

He would light the torch at dusk along the shore of his Bayview home. He raised the lit torch high above his head and waved it back and forth. If there was only one lit torch - it meant that illness; if two torches were lit it meant death.

Sometimes he would light the torches to tell Pictou Islanders to come to the mainland or to show the way across for the travelers at night or to see in a storm. Pictou Islanders relayed the same message to the Simpson's from their own shore, and used the lit torch system to guide the travelers back to Pictou Island when the weather or darkness hindered their travel over the Strait.


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