Story by GRACE FEENEY
Montreal is a foodie’s city, which was one of the reasons I decided to study at McGill, and one of the reasons I’m excited to go back to school in September. I live above an Irish pub on the same street as an international liquor store, and within walking distance of dozens of restaurants. But I chose to come home to Lunenburg in the summer, where I work as a server at Rime Restaurant, a locally focused upscale restaurant and wine bar.
Growing up in Lunenburg County let me take fresh seafood – really fresh seafood – for granted. Mussels, scallops, lobster, and haddock are sold hours after they’re taken out of the water. Being able to participate in the first experience that someone else has of something I’ve never given due gratitude is humbling and empowering, whether it’s shellfish or the views of the harbour it came from.
Both the people I get to serve and the people I get to work with give me insight into how unique life on the South Shore is, especially in the service industry. I meet people from all over the world who can be globetrotters or away from home for the very first time, and they are all excited to be in Lunenburg. I can tell them about the Bluenose, the Boscawen Inn, or brand-new initiatives by local businesses to protect the environment and bring new people to the area. It’s easy to be proud to be from here.
The high season is short but full. The town is generally busy between June and September, so I am able to work during a good portion of the best part of the year before returning to school. This helps me pay for my education and living expenses in Montreal so that I don’t need to work while I study. And I can still enjoy the summer at home because the job is fun and rewarding. I’m also able to return to work briefly while in town over my Christmas break, which is an interesting change from the high-volume summer work that often pays well. For the food and the people, Lunenburg County is not difficult to look forward to coming back to every year. The respect and affection locals have for the town is clear and infectious, which I see in those who return by saying that they visited decades ago and always knew they had to come again. Some of the characteristics they remember are exactly the same, some are similar, and some have been completely transformed. This allows a community sense of comfortable familiarity without becoming boring or predictable, easily adopted by all different kinds of people.
I think these values justify my favourite characterization of the South Shore: where the salt of the air meets the salt of the earth.