Celebrating a strong, creative, resilient Lunenburg County
NOW, MORE THAN EVER...
BY DONNA LEON
Servers scurry past with menus, tables are being reset, and there’s a lineup of customers at the door. Harnish deftly handles the crowd. He knows the drill. Roy Harnish built the Shore Club in Hubbards in 1946. Roy was a dairy farmer, and this new venture was a dream come true. He and his wife Lois revelled in the camaraderie, the food and the dancing. On Saturday nights, the Club was the place to be.
Three generations later, Roy’s son Rhys and his family run the show. “I’ve been involved in the Shore Club since I was eight. I used to stack lobsters and scoop ice cream”, says Harnish. Rhys, his two sisters and brother pitched in to help their parents keep things running smoothly. On Saturday nights, Rhys would sneak into the crawlspace above the dance floor to watch the band play.
“My grandfather’s house was directly across from The Shore Club, and just behind that was a pink house that my father built in the 40’s. We wintered there and summered above the club when he rented out the pink house. That’s why it was easy to get into the crawlspace,” recalls Harnish with a laugh. “It was pretty exciting to grow up there.” Maritime music legends play the Shore Club at least one Saturday every year. Award-winning rocker Matt Mays’ weekend of three shows sold out in nine minutes. Rhys Harnish is proud of the fact that performers keep coming back.
“Matt Minglewood has been playing here for 50 years. How many musicians can say they’ve played the same venue for half a century? And how many clubs can say they’ve hosted the same performers for that long? He loves it”.
The venue itself hasn’t changed much in 72 years, from the shiny hardwood floor to the large stage, or the crew out back cooking pots of lobster and mussels. Harnish credits much of the
Club’s success to his dedicated staff. “They’re loyal, and they rise up to the challenge of busy days. I remember a tour bus showing up one day and we had no idea they were coming. But we pulled it together in an hour with some amazing stickhandling.”
The Shore Club has served more than a million suppers since the summer of ‘46. Gentlemen don’t don their ties and sports jackets anymore, and the ladies no longer wear their frocks to the dance parties, but the Club’s original charm remains.
And Hubbards on a Saturday night is still the place to be.