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Mabou, My Home – by Heather Rankin

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“I’m so grateful to have grown up in Mabou. Its beauty, simplicity, sense of community, and deeply ingrained Celtic traditions make it a very special place to visit. It has nurtured and inspired many fine musicians, artists, and writers, and tourists flock to its shores each summer to relish in its beauty and its culture” – Heather Rankin

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The Origins of Mabou

Mabou is thought to derive from a Mi’kmaq word meaning “place where two rivers meet” or “shining waters.” It then became home to mostly Gaelic-speaking Scots in the early 19th Century. You can learn more about the history of Mabou and its people at the museum, An Drochaid (The Bridge).

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Growing up Rankin style 

Some of my best childhood memories are our family cookouts on the West Mabou Beach. The army of us would head down late in the afternoon and we’d stay well into the evening hours toasting bread and steeping tea on the driftwood fire.

When I was a child the Canadian Pacific Railroad ran right through Mabou and sometime we would go for walks along the tracks. In recent years, the rail ties between Port Hastings.

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Local Talent: Then and Now

As youngsters we spent summer weekends performing in outdoor music events. Today many of these concerts, or ceilidhs, still take place, and feature the talent of local fiddlers, step dancers, and Gaelic singers. Ceilidh on the Wharf at Fishermen’s Wharf in the Mabou Coal Mines takes place on the third Sunday in August.

A favourite activity for visitors during a Ceilidh on the Wharf is jumping aboard one of the fishing boats and going for a jaunt along the Mabou coastline. You will be absolutely gobsmacked at how stunning the Coast is from the water!

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Life on Canada’s Musical Coast

Melody Cameron hosts step dancing lessons so that visitors can take part in the local Square Dance, held every Saturday night at the West Mabou Hall. Melody hosts a ceilidh every Tuesday night at the Mabou Hall, across the street from the pub. The Red Shoe Pub also has live music every day of the week, including a jam session on Monday nights.

Mabou, My Home
Heather Rankin

Heather Rankin is a singer, songwriter, actor and member of the 6X Juno Award winning band The Rankin Family. As a solo artist she has released two albums, A Fine Line (ECMA/Juno Nom.) and Imagine (ECMA Nom.). She has performed her solo shows in venues across the country including headlining the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, NS SummerFest, Celtic Colours, she has hosted Songwriters’ Circles at ECMA Week, and has performed with Symphony NS, the Calgary Philharmonic, and the Cape Breton Orchestra. She was named a Canada 150 Ambassador in 2017 and took part in the Canada C3 Expedition. She has recorded and performed with many artists including The Chieftains, Johnny Reid, Alex Cuba, and Carly Simon. She recently released a new single “When in Doubt,” and her third album is in the works.

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