“And spreading away from the collieries and coal heaps are the peaked roofs of the miners’ houses built row on row by the coal company. Company houses. Company town.” Fall on your Knees, Ann-Marie MacDonald
The first commercial coal mine opened in Cape Breton in 1720. By 1873, eight mines were operating on the Island. The miners were paid 80 cents to $1.50 per day and boys (yes, boys) were paid 65 cents. Many of the towns developed around the mines with the coal company providing the infrastructure like housing and stores to purchase groceries and supplies.
The last mine closed in the Fall of 2001. The mines may be gone but the history and stories remain. One constant reminder is the company houses that still stand all over Cape Breton Island. These houses were eventually sold to the mine workers.
The Company House is a tribute to my great grandfather, my grandfather, and my father and the strong women who supported them, and to all of the families whose history was shaped by mining on Cape Breton Island.
Company Houses down home were always filled with family, friends, good food, a bit of booze, some heated discussions, and lots of music. Welcome to my Company House where you’re sure to find all of that on any given evening. I look forward to meeting you. Enjoy!
Mary Ann Daye
Owner, The Company House