Continuous horn blasts startle Burlington residents


Published December 27, 2023 at 1:53 pm

People across Burlington report hearing consistent blasts of horns today (Dec. 27).

From downtown to the north of Dundas St., the honking can be heard which has many searching for an explanation.

Today’s foggy conditions hold the answer.

“It’s boats and ships on Lake Ontario,” explains avid sailor Winston Gray. “Just some old-fashioned foghorns.”

While fog can play havoc with motorists on our roadways, it also poses dangers for those who use our waterways.

Rules vary depending on where you are and the type of vessel, the horn blasts warn those on the water about what may be coming their way. In some cases, the honking is continuous, particularly when visibility is extremely low.

Gray said the foghorns are an effective warning system and can’t be helped if you observe the safety rules when on the water.

Still, several Burlington residents say they have never heard such a racket and wonder who would be boating in conditions that may be treacherous.

While some small pleasure boats may be on the water, Gray said what people are hearing are likely cargo ships going about their day’s work.

“Just like transport trucks on the road they have to carry out their business,” explained Gray.

Although many are complaining about the noise via social media saying that the noise is startling and annoying, others say the sound is comforting, especially for those who have grown up near the water as the foghorn reminds them of simpler times when commercial shipping was more common.

“I have always lived by the lake and there is something soothing when the horn sounds, you know that there is life and activity going on nearby,” wrote one commentator on a Facebook forum.

Another person said the comfort level is similar to those who have lived near train tracks and enjoy the rattle of the engines and the whistle-blowing.

The noise may not last long, however. Weather forecasts say the fog advisory is expected to be lifted later today.



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