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Lobster Suppers
River John Lobster Suppers / Pictou Lobster Carnival / Other Places to Eat Lobster

While driving along the north shore in Nova Scotia you might happen upon a sign advertising a community’s “lobster salad supper” or “lobster dinner”.  Suggestion: follow the arrows and join in the feasting!  The friendly atmosphere, and great food is well worth the detour.  Often church groups hold their dinners in church basements or halls, and local service clubs and community organizations hold them in fire halls and community centers.  It is a way for these various groups to raise money, have some fun and provide a great dinner for their community and its visitors.

In the River John area there are a number of lobster suppers held each year.  The local Fire Department holds two annually, and the United and Presbyterian Churches also hold lobster suppers annually. On your next visit through River John be sure to attend one of these great events!

River John Lobster Suppers

The Salem United Church in River John has been putting on lobster suppers since the 1970s.  This annual fundraiser is held in the summer and is always a success.  Women, men and children volunteer to help cook and serve the meal, which starts at 11:00am and ends at 5:30pm.  (Unless it sells out, which it often does).  As many as 900 people have passed through the doors of Salem United to enjoy this great meal.  Five tables, seating 25 people, are set up in the church basement to accommodate the diners.

The meal that consists of potato salad, a pile of lobster meat on the side, a roll, brown bread, a beverage and strawberry shortcake for desert is sold for $12.00.  The only thing that has changed over the years is the price of the meal.  It has risen from $10.00 to $12.00 in order to make up for the increasing price of lobster.  Although $5, 000 dollars worth of lobster must be bought, along with the potatoes for the salad and the rest of the ingredients, the church still turns over a profit from this fundraiser each year.

Florence Craib of River John, who has been involved with Salem United’s lobster suppers for a number of years, says that she enjoys meeting people from away who have stopped by on their way through River John.  Although the volunteers are busy cooking, serving and cleaning up they always have time for a quick chat with their customers.  Most of the people that attend the dinners are tourists from various parts of Canada, cottagers from around the north shore and local senior citizens. 

The River John Fire Hall also has been holding lobster suppers annually.  Since 1985 the members of the fire hall have hosted a lobster supper in their hall each summer. Their winter lobster supper began in the early 1990s.  The volunteer firefighters and members of the fire hall make all the preparations needed to organize the supper and their families and friends help them cook and serve it.  The average attendance for the summer supper is between 600 and 650 and for their winter supper between 450 and 500.  It is a combination of tourists, cottagers and locals who attend their suppers said fire chief David Brown.

River John Fire Hall lobster supper

The supper usually begins at 12:00pm and ends around 6:00pm, but often sells out before closing time.  $12.00 for adult and $8.00 for children is the price per plate, which includes potato salad, coleslaw, lobster meat, a roll, brown bread, a beverage and strawberry shortcake for desert.  They buy their lobster from Arisaig Fisheries Ltd. in Lismore, guaranteeing north shore lobster is served on every plate. 

If you happen to be traveling through River John in July or January look for a sign indicating one of the community’s lobster suppers.  It is a dinner you’ll never forget! Also check online at

The Pictou Lobster Carnival

Pictou Lobster Carnival

The Lobster Carnival began in 1934 when local businessmen decided to create a day to honour and thank the local lobstermen. The lobstermen were important to the town because they supported many local businesses.  In the beginning, “the Carnival of the Fisher Folk” was a daylong event with games and entertainment, a celebration to mark the end of the lobster season.  Family and friends would gather to watch the fishermen march through Pictou in the annual parade and then race their boats on the harbour competing for “the fastest lobster boat” trophy.

Lobster contest Pictou Lobster CarnivalSixty-six years later the carnival is still a highlight of the summer for fishermen and non-fishermen alike.  Now a four-day event, the carnival usually falls on the first weekend of July and is packed full of exciting events. Besides the lobster boat races there are many other lobster events, including the king lobster contest, the lobster hauling contest, a trap building demonstration and daily lobster dinners. Other events to keep you entertained at the carnival are the various buskers and musicians, talent shows, pipe bands, as well as the giant street parade and a mid-way with games and rides.

To learn more about Pictou and their annual Lobster Carnival visit their website at


Other Places to Eat Lobster in Northern Nova Scotia

Looking for a nice place to relax and enjoy some amazing fresh Atlantic Seafood?  Dine at one of these great restaurants along Nova Scotia’s north shore. Whether you feel like a bowl of lobster stew, a plate of lobster salad, a lobster roll or a traditional boiled lobster, one of these restaurants is sure to have the meal for you!

REMEMBER:  Lobster season in northern Nova Scotia is in May and June.  If you want the freshest, best tasting lobster, as well as the best price, make sure to buy lobster in season.

Tatamagouche:  Balmoral Motel & Mill Dining Room

River John: Mammy’s Pizza, the Parsonage Tea Room, Yap’s Place

Pictou: Braeside Inn, Stonehouse Café, Fougere’s Restaurant, Saltwater Café

New Glasgow:  Crofters Steak and Seafood, Heather Hotel

Anitgonish: Lochinvar Dining Room, Lobster Treat Seafood Restaurant

Others:  Pictou Lodge (just outside Pictou), Piper’s Landing (Lyon’s Brook)


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