History

This 19th century shop is a 21st century home.This 19th century shop is a 21st century home.

Prior to British settlement in the Mahone Bay area starting in 1754, the area was inhabited by the Mi'kmaq native peoples. The Mi'kmaq called the place Mushamush after one of the rivers that flows into the harbour.

In 1754, British colonizing efforts brought European settlers to the area - mainly German-speaking immigrants who became known as the "foreign Protestants". From their first home-base in Lunenburg, the settlers worked the 30 acre and 300 acre farm lots they had been issued around Mahone Bay. Soon mills, homes and shops were built at the head of the harbour and the town was born.

German was the main language spoken for many years. In Bayview Cemetery there are several headstones carved with German language and symbols, the oldest dating from 1782. Eventually the British encouraged English speaking immigrants, but the German influence is still felt today throughout Lunenburg County in food, local expressions and customs.

c. 1870 HouseBy the 1850's the population was growing and the economy was booming with thriving activity in agriculture, forestry,lumber-milling, fishing, shipbuilding and shipping. Churches and schools were built. Two schools built in 1861 and 1870 were each outgrown and replaced in 1914 by the Mahone Bay Academy which served until 2000.

The railway reached Mahone Bay in 1889 linking it to local communities. In 1903, rail connections were made with Halifax thereby expanding commerce and tourism possibilities. The Town was incorporated in 1919 and the first volunteer fire department formed in 1921.

While tourism has been a mainstay of the local economy for several decades, Mahone Bay is poised for a new era of prosperity based on small business, burgeoning arts and crafts communities, green initiatives and plans for sustainability in cultural, economic, social and environmental sectors.