queen of Labrador City

The subjects arrive at the castle
Most every night of the week
Looking for love and advice,
And a drink would be nice,
But they don’t know what it is that they seek.

She’s the Queen of Labrador City, 
Wabush and all of the rest.
She’ll pour you a beer, and lend you an ear.
She rules all of Labrador West.

We used to wake to the sound of the shovel
Scraping the ore at first light.
Now the mine is shut down, but we’re still in this town
And the queen helps us get through the night.

She had a Montreal prince in her younger days.
Said he’d be coming back June.
But he never returned, and her lesson was learned.
Now the queen rules alone in this room.

She’s the Queen of Labrador City,
Wabush and all of the rest.
She’ll pour you a beer, and lend you an ear
She rules all of Labrador West.

The slot machines sit in the corner.
The jesters all sit at the bar.
There’s a game on tonight, and the Molson tastes right,
So I don’t think we need to go far.

I hear the loons calling out the last call,
And Gord’s singing his last song on TV.
So raise a glass to the man, and one more for the band,
And don’t forget a toast for the queen.

She’s the Queen of Labrador City,
Wabush and all of the rest.
She’ll pour you a beer, and lend you an ear.
She rules all of Labrador West.

She’s the Queen of Labrador City,
Wabush and all of the rest.
She’ll pour you a beer, and lend you an ear.
She rules all of Labrador West.
And we’re still here in Labrador West.

Lab City, as the locals call it,  and Wabush are the sister cities of the area known as Labarador West. In a many ways Labrador West reminds me of the high plains of western Kansas where I grew up. Isolated, economically beat up, and sometimes lonely, but with big sky, big land, and friendly people who look out for one another. In places like that, a bartender of the right kind can be part therapist, part clergy, part friend, part royalty.

I don't remember the name of the bar. I don't remember the name of the bartender. But, she left an impression.   

While I was in Lab City, The Tragically Hip's final concert was broadcast on CBC all across Canada. As an American, seeing Gord Downie and the band play their last song from a bar in Labrador City was probably the next best thing to watching it live. 

This is a love song to the Big Land, to Canada, and bartenders. 

Be kind to bartenders everywhere. And waiters. And people in general. Tip generously. 

  • Spotify
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Bandcamp

© 2020 Maple Run

"Old Glory" photo by Chris Stearns, 21mm Photography