CBU Mourns the Loss of Kenzie Bernard MacNeil

To the University community,

Cape Breton has lost a founding member of its cultural renaissance.  Kenzie MacNeil embodied the pride, spirit, and creativity of our Island.  While best known for his song “The Island,” which was declared the official Cape Breton anthem in 1985, Kenzie was also known and respected for his contributions in theatre, film, songwriting and radio.

Kenzie proudly grew up in Whitney Pier. He was a graduate of Xavier College where the environment was ripe for a group of talented and creative young people to find inspiration in the Cape Breton experience. They uplifted us all through their humour, lyrics, and melodies; articulating the pride of hardworking people and the hope of better futures through productions such as The Rise and Follies of Cape Breton Island.

Kenzie was involved in publishing and, for a period of time, was Director of the UCCB Press and later Editor/Publisher of The Cape Bretoner newsmagazine. His musical catalogue includes such memorable songs as “Johnstown Boogie,” “The Bungalow,” “Stubborn Spruce,” and “The Barbarian.”

Kenzie will be remembered for his enduring love of Cape Breton, its beautiful people and places, especially his Margaree home.  We extend our deepest condolences to Kenzie’s family, his wife, Lauren, his daughters, Caitriana, Christie, Mary, and Anna, and his nine grandchildren. Kenzie’s creative contributions will endure, woven within the fabric of our Island’s identity.


Yours very truly,

David C. Dingwall

President & Vice-Chancellor