Cape Breton in Cochrane

Saturday night, Sheena and I had a little bit of home — good food, good scenery and great music.  For this little treat, we left the big city…for a small town just outside of Calgary called Cochrane.  Cochrane is about a 20 minute drive from our place, along Highway 1A (Crowchild Trail).  It’s a quaint little place, a frontier town of sorts lying between Calgary, the mountains and Banff.  Who lives in Cochrane? Well, many people who work in Calgary, but can’t stand the city.  Cochrane has been expanding a fair bit over the last few years, especially after being touted the fasted growing town in Canada on CBC News a couple of years ago. We’d been to Cochrane a few times and some friends of ours live out there. 

So anyway, for a few months now, we’ve had plans to head out to Cochrane for a JP Cormier concert.  Arriving early, we decided to drive around the main street area for something to eat. And well, who’da thought that after one year of living in the area and we didn’t know of a Cape Breton pub/restaurant just outside of the city!  So, naturally, we stopped at the Lord Fin Fish and Chips (menu online) for a bite and were pleasantly surprised at how nice it was — and being owned by two wayward Cape Bretoners themselves.  A great place for a brew and eats, we were excited to find it.  The place actually reminded me of the Red Shoe, although smaller and two floors if you can imagine that.  We were told that on Fridays and Saturdays, it was jigs and reels night — basically an open mic for fiddlers, guitar players, etc.  I guess it can get kinda packed in there!  We’re heading back next weekend with a few friends to check it out.  OH, and the Keiths is cheap.  Can you imagine that? Its a rariety out here!  =)  We posted a few pics in our album for the night.

After the great meal, we headed to the Cochrane Ranchehouse for the JP Cormier show.  The place was sold out and packed.  And as he started, we were reminded of how great a musician he is.  In the time of pre-recorded vocals, synthesizers and fabricated studio albums, JP is one of the few artists who sounds the same (or better) when singing live as on his studio cds.  He’s multitalented and has an amazing ability on the guitar, fiddle, mandolin and banjo. In addition, JP’s songwriting is unique and heartfelt.  In his songs, he tells little known stories about life in the maritimes.  One newer song in particular told of the tragedy at Great Harbour Deep in Newfoundland.  When he told the story of that, then sang it, I know there were a few watery eyes in the house.  Quite a few people that were sitting around us hadn’t heard him before — and after the show there were lots of "wow, he’s amazing…they’re amazing."  JP is accompanied by his wife on stage, who is just as equally good on the piano.

All in all, it was a great night for a shot in the arm with Cape Breton living — a good little remedy for those homesick easterners.  Heh, we’ll be back at the Fin next week!

4 thoughts on “Cape Breton in Cochrane

  1. The Red Shoe lives…awesome find for you two! It would be fun to go to the Jigs and Reels night. Dave you should write for a music column, or did you copy the comment on JP’s music from his cd jacket? hee hee. Can’t wait for your arrival a la Halifax!


  2. What a quaint little spot. Nicely decorated! We’ll have to search around here for a nice picture of Mabou/Brook Village for their wall. I imagine they have big crowds on the week-ends, just like the Red Shoe did. What a shame the Red Shoe is no longer!


  3. Speaking of the Red Shoe in Mabou, a couple of summers ago, my mother, myself, and our cousin from the US drove through Mabou on the way down from Cheticamp, and happened to see the famous spot! Too bad it’s not there anymore.
    Also heard you two went to the J.P. Cormier concert, he’s multi-talented, isn’t he? You should become a music reviewer for the Calgary Herald, don’t you think?


  4. Hey guess what?? The Rankin Girls have purchased the Red Shoe. It will reopen in May and they will focus on food and Live Entertainment. Isn’t that great!!! We are all rejoicing down here in Mabou and area.


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