Sober Island is a rural community on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada, in the Halifax Regional Municipality. The community is situated on Sober Island. Sober Island Pond is located in the middle of the island. The community is about 14 km south of Sheet Harbour.
It is connected to the mainland by Sober Island Road. There are no numbered highways on Sober Island
Sober Island is so small and remote that many Nova Scotians haven’t even heard of it. On Google Maps you have to zoom in four times before the coast appears. Legend has it the area got its name from the early-20th-century rum runners who once docked their boats on its shore and got wasted. As one captain was departing, he supposedly said the only thing sober in the area was the island. It’s a good story. But according to 63-year-old Randy Levy, who’s spent his whole life on the island and has researched its history, it’s probably apocryphal—the island had its name long before Prohibition. Levy’s father always told him British soldiers gave the island its name in the 1700s when they arrived with no liquor, though he hasn’t found any historical support for this anecdote.
Most of the residents live on oceanside plots the size of multiple football fields, surrounded by dense forest and rocky beaches.
While the island has a rugged beauty and brisk saltwater air, it doesn’t have many young people or a thriving economy. Most of the 50 or so year-round residents are over 50; there are only six locals under 15 years of age. Most of the Sober Islanders who still work fish for lobster, the island’s only real industry. The nearest school, grocery store, post office and restaurants are across the bridge in Atkinson’s hometown of Sheet Harbour.
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