Hundreds expected to attend funeral for Rita MacNeil on Monday

Staff ~ The Cape Breton Post
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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 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.

Organizations: Church in Big Pond, CBC, The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation

Geographic location: Mary, Big Pond

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Recent comments

  • JeanneBlanchard
    April 21, 2013 - 22:46

    Sadden by the news, she was a beautiful lady that brought joy to everyone with a great voice,rip

  • Elva manuel
    April 21, 2013 - 19:25

    I meet Rita at Rose Theater. A few years ago in Brampton she was a beautiful. Person I will never forget her, She a beautiful. Voice. R.I P. Rita you never be forgotten. My prayers are with your family Elva

  • Barbara Schram Ingaldson
    April 21, 2013 - 17:03

    We have lost a great Canadian, Woman, songwriter, Mother, Friend, Rita gave me a Reason To Believe and Flying On My Own was the healing that helped me and my two children in the Fall of 1989 after my husband passed away she walked and sang down the highway of life and gave us The Reason To Believe all our prayers go out to all of her family we will miss you always !Barbara Schram Ingaldson

  • Garfield Hilchey
    April 21, 2013 - 12:59

    Rita was such a lovely person,an excellant singer, a person who left us way to soon,may you rest in PEACE .

  • Carmelita Mroz
    April 21, 2013 - 10:57

    Such a great loss to us all but now she will sing with the Angels.RIP Rita.