4/52 – Canso

The fourth song takes us to the east coast. While I often write songs about longing to leave, this song is about being forced to leave. If I was from Cape Breton, this is probably how I’d feel.

Canso is a town, a strait, and a causeway in Nova Scotia. The foggy coastal town hosts the Stan Rogers Folk Festival. The strait was a favoured passage for marine life into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, until the causeway was built. The Canso causeway connects Cape Breton the the mainland, and its construction caused a variety of environmental negatives, as well as an economic boom. The boom is over.

Canso is also a troubadour song-form, which I sort-of tried to fulfill with this tune.


Met a young girl from Canso, fighting against the rain
She rose up through the water like a flame
I shared my name & asked to follow her home
That young girl from Canso didn’t go to bed alone.

She broke to me in the morning, she was bound for Halifax
The island life is a thing of the past
Damn the strait & flood the Hawksbury Port
A young girl from Canso, walking out the door.

& it’s way hey don’t try to stop me,
Across that causeway I am bound,
Distance it never scared me, I am mainland bound.

She’s on the road to Halifax, in Sydney town I stay
Where the jobs are few and little is the pay
The fishing boats don’t sit as low as they could
And the water is sitting higher than it rightly should.

So I raised the anchor, to chase the mainlander
The men said don’t be listening to her
But I have seen the drowning of too many towns
So I’ll wash my hands in the empty see & throw in the towel

& it’s way hey don’t try to stop me,
Across that causeway I am bound,
Distance it doesn’t scare me now,
But I thought I’d never say goodbye to the island.


dgh in nova scotia

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