Nova Scotia

New Glasgow town crier Jim Stewart second in world competition

A New Glasgow town crier has come second in an international town crier competition, beating out the reigning world champion in the process.

Competition in Bermuda last week spanned 3 days and consisted of 3 separate cries

Jim Stewart, New Glasgow Town Crier, on the steps of town hall on Provost Street. (Kimberly Dickson, Town of New Glasgow)

Oyez, oyez, oyez — a New Glasgow town crier has come second in an international town crier competition.

James Stewart won the honour during a competition in Bermuda last week, which spanned three days and required competitors to perform three separate cries.

The cries were judged on volume, clarity, the choice of words and their inflection, while the criers were judged on how they looked in their uniforms, their bearing and confidence. They were also judged on the content of the cries.

Stewart, who was one of 25 competitors from around the world, said the competition was stiff.

"People don't travel to Bermuda from England or Alberta or Ontario unless they're good. The competition was top notch," he said Tuesday.

The first cry was about an annual event called the peppercorn ceremony — a commemoration of an 1815 agreement between the government and the Freemasons who rented the old state house in St. George's, Bermuda, for one peppercorn per year.

Beat reigning world champion

For the second cry, the criers could pick a topic of their choice — so Stewart chose to cry about rum.

The third and final cry was about the 200th birthday of Hamilton, Bermuda. The town crier competition was held in honour of that city's birthday.

Stewart beat the reigning world champion — Chris Wyman from Kingston, Ont. — but couldn't outcry England's Mark Wylie. 

Stewart said he sang the Stan Rogers song Barrett's Privateers multiple times a day to prepare for the competition. 

"That was my warm up every day before the competition," he said. "I would wander off to some place where nobody could hear me and I would sing Barrett's Privateers quite loudly."

Stewart, who is also the chairman of the Nova Scotia Guild of Town Criers, is helping to organize an event to select a new town crier for the city of Halifax in June.


Here's the transcript of James Stewart's free cry:

  • "Oyez, Oyez, Oyez, My lords and ladies, scalliwags, rouges, layabouts and ne'er do wells', Black rum, gold rum, old rum. In Pirates of The Caribbean Jack Sparrow asked the question, 'Why is the rum always gone?' Spending time enjoying this island I now know why. In Bermuda rum is the magic ingredient in your fish chowder, found in your dark and stormy, the secret ingredient in your incredible — and fat free — rum cake, available in black, swizzle, banana, coconut and dark chocolate. Bermuda's founder Sir. George Summers upon his passing, his heart was buried here and his body returned to England, pickled. A tradition now afforded to all visiting your beautiful island. Cheers to all, God bless Goslings, God bless Bermuda, God save the Queen."

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