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Page 70 - George Leonard & the Fish Business

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1995/8/1 (411 reads)

original Bank of Nova Scotia. And it was a very large plant of its type. Very sprawl? ing. And not all that many employees for a fish plant--around a hundred or a little more. And it was seasonal. But what it did it did very well. It had a very large smoked-fish operation. We could smoke--let me see--about 7 or 8 thousand pounds of fish overnight. That would be cod filets or kippered herring or what was known as finnan baddies, which was split haddock that were smoked. You don't get them anymore now. That actually turned out to be the downfall of that plant, because that's where the fire started that burned it down, in 1959. January the 29th, '59. My father was in Florida on vacation, and I was just a kid, looking after the plant. It was actually almost closed, except the office. Seasonal, the harbour was frozen, and drift ice, and all those things. Any? way, when the fire took place--called me at 4 o'clock in the morning. I looked out the window and you could just see the whole downtown of North Sydney, the sky was just red! And it was well below zero Fahrenheit at the time. And not a breath of wind. Very fortunately for the town. Because there were four 50,000-gallon gas? oline tanks, owned by Irving Oil, within 100 feet of that fire, 150 feet. And if they had blown, it would have been an ab? solute disaster. But anyway, it took a week to get the fire out. They had every fire department on the island they could get their hands on. And over175titles FOR AND ABOUT lll' NOVA SCOTIANS M • AGRICULTURE BOOKS for CHILDREN- ?? BUSINESS/ECONOMY ?? CRAFTS ?? EDUCATION • • ENVIRONMENT-FISHERIES-FORESTRY • - HEALTH & NUTRITION - HISTORY & GEOGRAPHY - - HOME OWNERSHIPS HOUSES-MAPS- I GEOLOGY-MUNICIPALITIES- For a FREE copy of our NEW catalogue CALL TOLL FREE 1-800-526-6575 (within Nova Scotia) or write to: Nova Scotia Government Bookstore One Government Place, 1700 Granville Street P.O. Box 637, Halifax, N.S. B3J 2T3 Nova Scotia Government Booitstore The fire that threatened North Sydney, at the fish plant (Leonard Brothers Division of National Sea), January 1959. It burned for a week. a fireboat, which happened to be--I think it must have been in Sydney--came over. They had an awful time. Because the cold storage was quite large--it was over a million tons capacity. And what was hap? pening was that it was an old cold stor? age, full of sawdust as insulation, and shavings, maybe 2 feet thick in the walls. Or even more. And as a result they had one hell of a time to put the fire out! The fire department was very inadequate here in North Sydney, at that time. Didn't have a clue about how to put a major fire out. In fact, they had three or four that year, in town. Presbyterian Church went. The Markland a coastal resort He] Lelax in our luxury log suites and dine on our gourmet food featuring local fish and lamb. JLhrill to the play of light and shadow as they dance over the northern seascape. For reservations In the Maritimes call 1 -800-872-6084. Or ask the operator for your toll free Check Inn number. Local phone (902) 383-2246 Cabot Trail, Dingwall, Nova Scotia, BOC IGO, Canada 70
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