Pride Hoodies and T-Shirts for the restaurant staff of Dennis Point Cafe in Pubnico, Nova Scotia
What is a BEGOU?
As you may have noticed, our staff has the word "BEGOU" written on their backs. You won't find this word in the dictionary since it's been made up by our locals many years ago.
Put your mind way back in the late 1880's, the very early lobster fishery in our region was much different than today. During this early days there was little or no knowledge about the benefits of conserving the lobster stock for later years. The boats that were used were small dories being rowed to hail their crude wooden lobster traps by hand. The captain would hire at least one or more person to help with tasks since it was such a physical job. Lobsters were plentiful and many were smaller than market size (3 3/16 legal size for the US market). That's then the propositions to set-up canneries all along our shores starts. There was actually one between here and the windmills on Pubnico Point, with 3 more in the village alone.
Canneries became a booming industry for a few short years until small "undersized" lobster started disappearing due to heavy fishing. With barely any young lobsters left in our waters to grow to market size, there was very little lobster to catch and the price was low. The decision to close them became apparent since the results were devastating to the lobster stocks. The fishermen became very poor. In order to support their families, the hired hand would have to beg for a few dollars or beg someone to buy fish caught in their traps. If they would happen to catch undersized lobsters, they would bring them home for families to east since there was no longer a market for them. At this time, lobster was considered "poor mans food". Often, the helper had to beg the captain to be paid for his days work. The word beggar was converted locally to "Begou". In our region, the hired hand was, and still is today, referred to as "Begou".
Our fishery suffered for 50 years due to these bad choices. Thankfully, with the existing regulations in place, lobster is no longer considered "poor mans food". It's what makes this little Acadian village, as well as most of the neighbouring communities thrive. And we are hoping it continues that way for many years to come.
Our staff is our "Begous". Without them this restaurant wouldn't be able to function. Just like the captains need their Begous, we need our dishwashers, cooks, cash/salad people and servers to help us along the way.