Thunder Bay

Call of the wild a trademark for northern Ontario curling fans

For northern Ontario curling fans, nothing is better than a chorus of loud, grunting moose calls echoing from the stands.

It's loud, it's annoying, it's 'the greatest sound in the whole entire world'

The noise-makers are extremely easy to make, and the sound is made by coating the shoelace in resin, then pinching it and sliding the finger and thumb along the lace. (Amy Hadley/CBC)

It's not what you would call a pleasant sound. 

But for northern Ontario curling fans, nothing delights the ears more than a chorus of loud, guttural, grunting moose calls echoing from the stands, signalling success for the home team. 

The moose call is a northern Ontario curling tradition. Fans are known for coming to games with the handmade noise-makers, made from coffee-cans and shoelaces, that, despite their simplicity, emit a surprisingly powerful sound.

"I've never heard a moose before, but supposedly this is what a moose sounds like," said curling fan Tricia Sampson, who's volunteering this week at the Pinty's Grand Slam Tour Challenge stop in Thunder Bay, Ont.

The noise, she admits, is somewhat "annoying."

But, "after a great shot, it's the greatest sound in the whole entire world."

In preparation for the event, Sampson and some friends made a batch of the noise-makers to cheer on Thunder Bay curler Krista McCarville and her rink. 

Curling fan Tricia Sampson shows us how to use a home-made, moose call noise maker. 0:44

While she's not sure of the origin of the tradition, she said the connotations make sense.

"I'm just assuming northern Ontario, hunting, moose, you know, it seems like this is an easy thing [to be] recognizable."

"And whenever anybody's supporting ... they know what they have to bring in order to make sure that they're recognized that they're here to show their support" for northern Ontario. 

Moose call 101. The CBC's Amy Hadley learns how northern Ontario curling fans stand out in the crowd. 4:51