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Cape Breton Facts
Cape Breton’s total population as per the 2001 census was reported to be 147,000 "Cape Bretoners"; Cape Breton Island, Canada, has experienced a decline in population of approximately 6.8% since the previous census in 1996. Approximately 72% of the island's population is located in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality which includes all of Cape Breton County and is often referred to as Industrial Cape Breton, given the history of coal mining and steel manufacturing in this area.
Cape Breton Island has two major coal deposits: the Sydney Coal Field in the southeastern part of the island along the Atlantic Ocean drove the Industrial Cape Breton economy throughout the 19th and 20th centuries; the Inverness Coal Field in the western part of the island along the Gulf of St. Lawrence is significantly smaller but hosted several mines.
Cape Breton measures 10,311 square km in area, this making Cape Breton the 75th largest island in the World.
John Cabot or also known as Giovanni Caboto reportedly visited the island in 1497 to become the first Renaissance European explorer to visit present-day Canada.. However, historians are unclear as to whether Cabot first visited Newfoundland or Cape Breton Island. This discovery is commemorated by Cape Breton's Cabot Trail.
A fishing colony was established on the island of Cape Breton around 1521–22 by the Portuguese Joao Alvares Gagundes. As many as 200 settlers lived in the nameless village in what is now present day Ingonish (location according to some historians) on the island's northwestern peninsula. The fate of the colony is unknown, but it is mentioned as late as 1570.
The turn of the 20th century saw Cape Breton Island at the forefront of scientific achievement with the now-famous activities launched by inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Guglielmo Marconi.
Following his successful invention of the telephone and being relatively wealthy, Bell acquired land near Baddeck in 1885, largely due to surroundings reminiscent of his early years in Scotland.
He established a summer estate complete with research laboratories, working with deaf people – including Helen Keller - and continued to invent. Baddeck would be the site of his experiments with hydrofoil technologies as well as the Aerial Experiment Association, financed by his wife, which saw the first powered flight in the British Empire when the AEA Silver Dart took off from the ice-covered waters of Bras d’Or Lake.
Marconi's contributions to Cape Breton Island were somewhat less than Bell's as he merely used the island's geography to his advantage in transmitting the first trans-Atlantic rado message from a station constructed at Table Head in Glace to a receiving station at Poldhu in Cornwall, England.
Cape Breton is well known for its traditional fiddle music, which was brought to North America by Scottish immigrants during the Highland Clearances. The traditional style has been well preserved in Cape Breton, and ceilidhs have become a popular attraction for summer tourists. Inverness County in particular has a heavy concentration of musical activity.
Another popular attraction for tourists visiting Cape Breton isn't on land, but in the water - whales. Whale-watching cruises are operated by numerous vendors from Baddeck to Cheticamp. The most popular species of whale found in Cape Breton's waters is the Pilot whale. During these cruises if you are lucky Dolphins will also come near the boat and dance for you!
City Hall Address:
Sydney, Nova Scotia, B1P 7B9