Havre Boucher is situated ten kilometers west of the Canso Causeway in Northeastern Nova Scotia. It is a coastal village of approximately two-thousand residents (2007 projected figure).
There is some discontent on how the village of Havre Boucher recieved its name. One argument is "Boucher" is derived from the French word bouche, which translates to blocked or closed. This may relate to the geography of the area because the harbour entrance is almost closed by an island. It is also said that the village of Havre Boucher recieved its name from an ocean voyager that found refuge there during a harsh winter in the middle of the 18th century. The following excerpt from A.A. Johnson's, "A history of the Catholic Church in Eastern Nova Scotia" tells that tale.
"When Bishop Plessis visited Havre Boucher in 1812, he said that the settlement there seemed to be of recent origin, and that the place took its name from a Captain Francois Boucher of Quebec, who had been overtaken by the winter of 1759 and had to stay there until spring. According to a local tradition, Captain Boucher returned to the place the following year, married there, and established a family. A legend still current in Havre Boucher relates that, 'there once stood on a prominent western point of the harbour a chapel built of logs, which was served by french missionaries and attended by Indians. The early acadians, few in number, also took advantage, as the occasion offered, of attending mass at the Chapel.'"
There is a tradition that the chapel in reference was the one existant in 1790. In 1816 this chapel was replaced by another and the first school in Havre Boucher was started by Father Manseau.
The collection of people who would form the original residents were a small group of original Acadian settlers, French settlers from Arichat, and in the early 1800's some Irish families settled in the region. Before 1785, John and Paul Bushee were living in the vicinity of the harbour in addition to the Decoast or DeCost family. In 1811 these individuals who previously lived in "Harbour au Bouchee" were given grants of land by the Crown - Philistine, John Baptist and James De Coast, Bernard Benwaugh (Benois) and Paul Bushee, Charles LeBlanc and John Baptist Melon and George Minette.
On December 1, 1858, Havre Boucher became a separate parish with Father Hugh MacDonald serving as the first pastor. On June 30, 1861 Bishop MacIntyre of Charlottetown laid the cornerstone of the new Church at Havre Boucher. St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church was constructed in 1916 and a convent (Immaculate Conception) of the Sisters of Charity built in 1890.
There were thirty families when Bishop Plessis of Quebec paid his official visit in 1812. The harbour was important for fishing and by 1818 some small fishing vessels were being built by people from Arichat. These vessels would ultimately find their way into the local harbour. Some lobster and scallop harvesting was also done at this time. The village population grew rapidly through the years from 1812-1858 as more than one hundred families were present when a parish was created to serve the area in 1858.
A post office was constructed just prior to the creation of the parish in 1855. In 1868 Edmund Corbett was postmaster. The most recent post office building replaced the original building and its construction was completed August 10, 1964.
The waters of the great St. Georges Bay and the rolling hills of Cape Breton island make for a splendid view in our community.
For more scenic pictures, click the "Community Photos" link on the navigation panel.
Historically, the majority of local residents have made a living through seasonal fishing activities off our coast. Currently, the majority of residents are employed in the towns of Antigonish and Port Hawkesbury. Additionally, a large number of families are supported by a parent who lives outside the community during periods of their employment. To read more about the local economy and the incomes of local residents click here.