BIG POND - A wake was held for singer-songwriter Rita MacNeil at the T.W. Curry Funeral Home Saturday.
Cape Breton singing legend Rita MacNeil.
Friends and family turned out to pay their respects to one of this country’s best-known entertainers.
MacNeil died Tuesday of complications following surgery She was 68.
MacNeil’s funeral will take place Monday at 2 p.m. at St. Mary’s Church in Big Pond.
When asked how many he’s expecting to attend the service on Monday, Father Joe Gillis said it was hard to estimate.
“I don’t know how many – we’ll know when the day is out how many came,” said Father Gillis. “We can’t do much about that – we just have so many spaces and people will have to accomodate themselves to that.”
According to Gillis, the church, which overlooks the Bras d’Or Lake, holds 250 people and 50 of those seats will be reserved for family. Up to 450 people will be seated in the nearby fire hall where they will be able to watch the funeral through a live video feed. The funeral will also be streamed live by CBC, online at www.cbc.ca/ns. If more show up at the church, they may have to wait outdoors.
“They’ll be coming in from everywhere, I’m sure,” says Gillis. “If it’s a fine day, they can stand outside. The church will be filled and the hall will be filled, so they’ll just sit on the lawn and look at the lake.”
The weather Monday is expected to be sunny but chilly at 3 C. The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation has already issued warnings that traffic could be heavy in the Big Pond area before and after Monday’s funeral and for motorists to take caution.