Mahone Bay, NS, incorporated as a town in 1919, population 943 (2011c), 904 (2006c). The Town of Mahone Bay is located on the "Lighthouse Route" of Nova Scotia's southern shore, 10 km northwest of LUNENBURG. A quiet residential community and retirement haven, it is known for its beautiful bay, dotted with hundreds of ISLANDS. Its name is derived from the French mahonne (barge), referring to the long, low boats used by pirates (see PIRACY) who frequented the area.
In 1754 Captain Ephraim Cook brought English, French and Swiss settlers to the area. Farming and fishing were mainstays of life until the mid-1800s, when shipbuilding became an important industry. Mahone Bay has been able to adapt to a modern economy by concentrating on manufacturing, service and tourism industries. The town's Settler Museum and annual Classic Boat Festival celebrate the area's shipbuilding heritage.