The Town of Mahone Bay defines Nova Scotia's picturesque seaside communities, combining awe-inspiring beauty with townsfolk who are brimming with artistic ability and cultural diversity.
The community of Mahone Bay has about 900 residents and is nestled where the Mush-a-Mush and Maggie Maggie rivers empty into the body of water that bears the same name as the town.
Mahone Bay was founded in 1754, settled mostly by German-speaking immigrants. A few of the old slate gravestones that marked the final resting places of some of the community's first settlers can still be seen at the foot of the hillside Bayview Cemetery, along Edgewater Street.
The town began an ascent as a centre of commerce and activity in Lunenburg County during the 19th century, when the community's shipbuilding industry took off.
At its height, as many as 13 shipyards were operating simultaneously along the waters in and around the community (including Oakland and Maders Cove), with traditional local family names, from Zwicker to Burgoyne, Ham and Ernst associated with the active industry.
Mahone Bay was formally incorporated as a town in 1919 and, despite the challenges associated with out-migration from the region, the community still retains its status as a town.
In recent years, the town's traditional sounds of hammers and saws along the waterfront have been replaced by the music of bands and the sweeping sounds of artists' paintbrushes.
Today, Mahone Bay is a vibrant cultural centre, with many celebrations throughout the year.
The Mahone Bay Classic Boat Festival, held each August, pays tribute to the community's seafaring past; the Great Scarecrow Festival and Antique Fair ushers in the autumn weather with downright ghoulish characters.
Paint Mahone Bay each July offers visitors and locals the opportunity to see artists paint the town's captivating waterfront beauty and striking architecture live — plus, if you really like a particular piece, once the paint dries, you'll have the chance to purchase it.
During December, the Father Christmas Festival has a host of activities to celebrate the traditions of Christmases gone by.
And don't forget to look for the homes decorated brilliantly with white lights in celebration of the season — the sparkling sensation is sure to delight the senses of young and old.