Affordable Travel Guide to The MacKinnon-Cann Inn

Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

The MacKinnon-Cann Inn

In the extreme southwest corner of the province of Nova Scotia (Canada’s best-kept secret!) sits the prestigious, historic MacKinnon-Cann Inn, built in 1887. The 2007 Business of the Year award-winner from Tourism Nova Scotia, the MacKinnon-Cann is a fully restored “double“ (a duplex) Italianate architectural beauty. It was originally built for the Town of Yarmouth’s first town clerk, a Mr. Goudey; the inn is named after his two granddaughters, Jean MacKinnon and Hazel Cann, who lived there throughout their lives. The building is now one large, genteel space with all the amenities expected of a grand hotel, including (on weekends) fine dining.

Owners Mike Tavares (adaptive reuse restoration developer and artist) and Neil Hisgen (professional hotelier) saved the building from demolition, one of four buildings they rescued and restored, all within one small block. If you venture up into the window’s walk, you can actually see graffiti from the 1800s etched onto one of the beams! Now with seven distinct rooms, the inn hosts business travelers and vacationers with comfort, elegance and panache.

No detail has been overlooked at this inn. A visit to historic Yarmouth with its museums, scenery, and fresh fish and shellfish, is a great draw, but you could happily spend your time at the inn and never venture out. It’s ideal to while away the time in quiet beauty on those foggy or rainy days that typify this area of the ocean-side province. And the much-photographed inn holds special appeal to lovers of art and architecture; Mike and Neil are fluent in the language of both, and a chat about the inn and its adjacent buildings can easily fill an evening.

How to Decide Which Room is Your Style?

The seven large guest rooms are decorated in keeping with the decades from 1900 to 1960; all boats different décor, but are equally luxurious and with en-suite bathrooms. With the period décor, from the subtlety of turn-of-the-century formality to the hip fun of the 50s and 60s, guests are inspired to try a different room each time. It makes for a perfect excuse to dress in the design vernacular of your room! The rooms at the inn are as follows:

  • 1900 Grand Victoria Queen Room — all the opulence you would expect from the late Victorian period
  • 1910 New Era Queen Room — a lift from the dark colors favored by the Victorians
  • 1920 The Roaring Queen Room — an early jazz era joy, depicting the “French Flat Revival” design movement of the times
  • 1930 The Great Formal Dining Room — double accommodations in the former dining room of one half of the duplex buildings
  • 1940 Mommy Dearest Queen Room — a throwback to the heyday of Hollywood and its thespians
  • 1950 Lucy Twin Room — like the bedroom in the old sit-com “I Love Lucy”
  • 1960 Vandyke Queen Room — shades of kitsch and color that align with classic 1960’s sensibility

Close to Superb Attractions and Ocean Features

Within a short walk of downtown Yarmouth, and a 5-minute drive of the venerable, wonderful Cape Forchu Lighthouse, the MacKinnon-Cann Inn is about 3-1/2 hours by car from Halifax airport, and a million miles away from the stress of most lives. Lobster fisheries line the route between Yarmouth and Cape Forchu, with the main one being at Yarmouth Bar; you can watch the fishermen in action, and purchase lobster right off the boats. Less than half an hour away, there are dozens of sandy beaches right on the Atlantic Ocean.

The Best of Both Worlds

The MacKinnon-Cann Inn stands as a shining example of great original architecture, lovingly restored and repurposed to modern ideals. It’s a trip to the past with all the perquisites of contemporary service. These are fine accommodations, private and discerning. When you approach the main entrance, you’ll feel like you just stepped out of the present and into a time of grace and decorum. Have a look before you book; visit the MacKinnon-Cann Inn.

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