Deer Lake Area
The first settlers arrived in Deer Lake in 1864, travelling from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, under the leadership of George Aaron Nichols. These settlers were originally trappers and loggers but the suitable soil conditions and climate in the area led many to take up farming. Upon arrival, the settlers witnessed herds of caribou crossing the lake and mistook the animals for deer, hence the name of the town.
In order to support the International Pulp and Paper Company, a work camp was established in Deer Lake in 1922. With a formal town site constructed in 1925, the camp would later become the Town of Deer Lake. An airport was built in Deer Lake in 1955, which has grown into the main airport in the region.
The Deer Lake whistle, located on the roof of the Deer Lake Power Company hydro plant, has an important place in the history of the town. Originally, the whistle was used to call the plant employees to report for work. Even to this day the whistle blows at 7am and 8am, noon and 1pm and 5pm and 6pm, from Monday to Saturday. In the early days of Deer Lake, when a person was feared to be lost, the whistle would blow every half hour in hopes of guiding that person home. As the town grew, the whistle was also used to call the Volunteer Fire Brigade to emergencies. A code, consisting of a series of whistle blasts, was set up as a way to identify where the emergency was located.