Bar that became epicentre of Lac-Megantic tragedy now a symbol of its rebuild

Some 30 of the 47 victims who died in the disaster were in or near the bar, whose name has since become a symbol of the town’s resilience, and its ongoing rebuild.

Co-owner Katie Stapels, who took over the bar last year with her partner, said she’d known the Musi-Café was important to the community — though she’s only realizing just how much. While she didn’t live in Lac-Megantic in 2013, she’s embraced the responsibility of owning the place that’s became one of its best-known symbols.

“It’s a lot of emotions, whether you lived through (the tragedy) or not,” she said in an interview. “But it’s certain that in taking over the Musi-Café, we have no choice but to live it.”

Only weeks after the July 6, 2013, tragedy, the bar reopened in a tent, offering a series of free concerts to the population. A new permanent location opened at the end of 2014 — though, like the rest of downtown, it bore little outward resemblance to what…

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