People who live in Main-à-Dieu, Nova Scotia often say it is God’s Country – the name literally translates from French to “Main à Dieu”.
“In all the places I have lived, in Canada and elsewhere, I have never felt more at home than in Main-à-Dieu,” said Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Amanda McDougall , originally from a small fishing village. village on the east coast of Cape Breton.
McDougall says it’s no surprise the community was honored with a Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Community Spirit this weekend by the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
“Because I love it,” McDougall said. “Yes, I love that my kids grow up and love it as much as I did when I was a little girl and spent my summers there. It’s beautiful.”
An example of the remarkable community spirit of Main-à-Dieu took place in December 2020. Just before Christmas, almost everyone banded together to build a new home for lifelong resident Barb Lahey – whose trailer had fallen into disrepair.
“It’s hard to believe people would do that,” Lahey said at the time. “But I have great friends and I have a great community.”
Main-à-Dieu produced not only a mayor but also an Olympic gold medalist. Mike Forgeron won rowing gold at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Spain. He still returns to visit most summers.
“The community of Main-à-Dieu is — for me — it’s Canada, isn’t it?” Smith said from his current home of Mississauga, ON. “It’s a collection of contradictions. Like, the coastline – it’s harsh and it’s rugged. But at the same time, it’s really hospitable.”
The official presentation of the Community Spirit Award will take place on Sunday, at a place that many consider to be the beating heart of the community, the Main-à-Dieu Coastal Discovery Centre.
The community also had its challenges. Among them was the years-long saga to remove the MV Miner, a large freighter that wrecked off the nearby island of Scatarie in the fall of 2011.
The people there seem to have a knack for gathering, which begs the question, “Is there something in the water?” »
“I think there must be some,” said Pauline Mesher, chair of the board of directors of the Main-à-Dieu Community Development Association.
“Because during our celebration we will obviously eat lobster – thanks to the generosity of our fishermen.”