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EPISODE | 2x12

Mabou, N.S.

AIR DATE: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2016 at 9 P.M. / 9:30 NT on CBC-TV

In this episode, Jonny tears up the trails with a member of The Rankin Family, picks up some conversational Gaelic, and helps welcome a Syrian refugee family to the Maritimes.

Mabou's great strength has been its importance as a farming and fishing village largely because of the high quality soil and its natural harbour. But almost since it's inception, the economy of Mabou Village has ebbed and flowed with the comings and goings of big industry.

5 facts about Mabou, N.S.

  • Population: 1,200 (as of 2011).
  • Town slogan: "Where culture lives".
  • The name Mabou is thought to derive from Mi'kmaq name Malabo, shortened from Malabokek, meaning "place where two rivers meet" (the Mabou and Southwest Mabou rivers). It is also thought to mean "Shining Waters" or "Sparkling Waters".
  • In a town where hard economic times were always prevalent, many Gaelic families believed the best way to get ahead in life was to abandon the gaelic language.
  • Today there is a revival of Gaelic culture in Mabou that have some have called "a renaissance," probably beginning about seven years ago when Gaelic started being offered as part of school curriculum (students a decade earlier were showing up after school hours to learn gaelic if they wanted to).

Like most of Cape Breton, Mabou N.S., never fully bounced back from hard times. Companies and canneries closed, hope was crushed and the young left town. But no sad violin music needed here — just plenty of fiddle and bagpipes! — as the community seeks to revive its rich Gaelic heritage to create a unique cultural experience that will invite the entire world to come and see.