The Last Hand-Rung Bells in Canada

The last hand-rung bells in Canada were recorded in honor of World Listening Day. A team of 5 field recordists across Canada recorded, mapped and reflected on the sound and meaning of these bells. Here are a selection of those recordings.

All recordings are best experienced on audiophile quality speakers or headphones.

Holy Trinity,  Quebec City.  Recordist: Tyler Kinnear at 10:15am on Sunday June 25th, 2011.


0:14-0:39 Holy Trinity bells (the first bell heard is from the nearby Notre-dame de Quebec Cathedral)

0:40-1:08 Bells and tour bus

1:56-2:23 Bells and second tour bus

2:24-3:00 Bells and horse-drawn carriage

Recorded with an Olympus LS-11. Tyler Kinnear, Change Ringer at Holy Rosary Cathedral and Ph.D. candidate in Musicology at UBC, can be reached at .

Saint James Cathedral, Toronto.  Recordist: Katie Needs at 10:00am on Sunday, July 17th.


I arrived at the NE corner of  King & Church Sts in Toronto just on time to catch the 10 AM bells at St. James Cathedral, and then found myself quietly seated on the east lawn of the church grounds for about 50 minutes. The bells were then rung triumphantly for a good 7+ minutes, so I took a westbound walk around the grounds, and also ventured into the west entrance of the church to get the full “sonic experience”. After a few minutes of silence, I caught the 11 AM bells, too.

Recorded using the SoundCloud mobile app for iPhone. Katie Needs at Sounds of My City

Christ Church Cathedral, Calgary, Alberta. Recordist Trifon Heney at 10:30 on Sunday, July 17th.

The recording consist of myself approaching a park bench located at the top of the hill, sitting down, and listening. I chose this recording because it had the least amount of microphone interference (the AT825 is VERY finicky) and a wide range and depth of sounds to complement the bells. The location was the Roxboro Hills, east of Christ Church and the Elbow River, up on a hill. This area is a dead end where a set of apartments is located. The hill has a few places where a large part of the city can be seen to the west; the wooded area separating this area from the neighborhood immediately west is very steep and without any trails. Conditions: No wind, sunny, 27 degrees C.
Recorded with an AudioTechnica AT825 Stereo Condenser Microphone, Fostex FR2LE Field Recorder

Holy Rosary Cathedral, Vancouver.

These bells were originally recorded and mapped by Colin Miles, Bruce Davies and others of the World Soundscape Project in 1973. On Sunday, July 17th, Tyler Kinnear, Vincent Andrisani, and Andrea Dancer, members of the Vancouver Soundwalk Collective, remapped the acoustic range of the bells and recorded the change ringers in the belfry.

Recordist: Tyler Kennear at 10:30 am on July 17th.

Walking East on Richards Street

Facing the Cathedral at Beatty and Richards Streets.

Parking meter change collectors. Walking south on Beatty Street.

Bells, fountain, women laughing. Walking west on Georgia. St.

Bells from Granville at Richards Street, moving east.

Front steps of the Cathedral.

Entering church, from organ loft, mass begins.

Choir sings Kyrie.