Who is ‘Darling?’
As a compulsive reader, I note the word “Darling” on fire hydrants in my neighbourhood, and its sweetness triggers my curiosity. So I begin reading hydrants in other neighbourhoods (which isn’t weird), and am introduced to “McAvity.” I begin to develop a tale of wealthy family estates naming different districts of Niagara-on-the-Lake after themselves, and having those defined by the hydrants on their streets.
A call to Jay Plato of NOTL Fire & Safety swiftly disabuses me of my somewhat romantic idea — I had imagined our heroic firefighters loading onto their trucks and speeding off to “Darling District A3.”
“To be honest those names aren’t really something I’ve ever questioned,” says the firefighter when I ask about the Darling embossment. When I mention McAvity, it all becomes clear: “I believe those are the names of the manufacturers,” he says, pragmatically.
Darrin Wills, lead hand of environmental services at the Town, confirms Plato’s assumption. “It just comes down to branding,” he says. “You’ll see other names too, like Centurion and Brigadoon.”
What are the names on the fire hydrants in your neighbourhood? Do you already know them because you are also a compulsive reader, or will you be checking them out now out of curiosity?
If you have anything to add to these stories, or any local artefacts, spots, or puzzlers you’d like us to explore, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.