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Cape Breton, Nova Scotia City Info
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Cape Breton

Cape Breton Island is Nova Scotia's northernmost land mass, and a place of unsurpassed natural beauty. One of its main attractions is wildly scenic Cape Breton Highlands National Park, located at the far north edge of the island's western tip. Others are the authentically restored fort at Louisbourg and scenic Bras d'Or Lake, the inland saltwater lake that almost bisects the island.

By air, road, rail or sea, Cape Breton Island is easily accessible. The visitor is immediately swept up in the striking beauty of the landscape and the warmth and welcome of the people living there.

Cape Breton Island is linked to mainland Nova Scotia by the Canso Causeway, a mile-long road and railway system that is part of the Trans-Canada Highway. Metropolitan Cape Breton is just the right size to make visitors feel at home. Fine hotels, restaurants, museums and attractions make it one of the island's favorite stopping places. Always popular are the historic villages, world-class golf courses, and Celtic music festivals in the island's stunning setting.

The history of Cape Breton Island is a multicultural one. Its settlers have included the Mi'kmaq, French, British, and later, predominantly Scottish people. In the early 1800s, as many as 40,000 Gaels from Scotland came to Cape Breton Island. For the next 150 years Gaelic was the predominant language in rural Cape Breton. Songs and stories collected then still delight audiences of today, continuing to reveal a rich cultural heritage.

When Europeans arrived, they found a green land covered in lush forests, streams and rivers full of salmon and trout, the forests home to caribou, cougars, moose and other wildlife. This has not changed. The Southern Gulf of St Lawrence is so rich in sea life that whale cruise operators guarantee sightings. Sea turtles are also present. Whether your preference is for historic sites, cultural events, outdoor adventure or relaxation in a phenomenally beautiful setting, Cape Breton Island is the perfect place to visit. The island features five Scenic Trails. Pack a picnic and travel to the Bras d’Or Lakes to watch a spectacular sunset, or photograph the breathtaking scenery while hiking or bicycle riding along the rugged eastern coast. The beaches on the western "Sunset Side of the Island" are perfect for whale watching, sailing, kayaking and scuba diving.

Residents and visitors join in the old-time dances as bagpipers and fiddlers celebrate Gaelic culture amidst the quiet beauty of the Ceilidh Trail. The Keltic Lodge, Cabot Trail, and the Cape Breton highlands make up Nova Scotia's Atlantic Uplands. Cape Breton Highlands National Park is located at the north end of the island, where the highest point in the province rises to over 15,000 feet.

Although seasonal hunting continues in this area, tourism and recreational activities predominate because of the impressive scenery and wildlife attractions along the Cabot Trail and in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The Cabot Trail is the official designation for the 185-mile roadway around the northwest part of the island, which encompasses the national park. It's named after John Cabot, who many believe first set foot on North American soil near Cape North.

The Margaree Valley on the west coast, south of Inverness, is a beautiful farming region. Livestock raising and dairying, the most valuable agricultural activities, are carried out in the farmlands of this area. Sydney, the largest city on the island, is a steel-manufacturing center.

The Ceilidh (pronounced Kay-lee) Trail lines the west coast of Cape Breton Island. The images of blue ocean, green mountains, and jutting capes define the perimeter of Cape Breton Island, but inland there are serene river valleys, placid lakes and waterfalls.

Baddeck, (much like a New England village) offers fine accommodations and restaurants, and is centrally positioned for day excursions to many of the island's attractions: the national park and the reconstructed historic settlement of Louisbourg. Visitors can tour the Fortress at Louisbourg, wander through centuries-old Acadian villages, and descend to a coal mine beneath the ocean floor.

For a vacation that is never to be forgotten, consider Cape Breton. When you arrive, listen for the words of the Gaelic greeting you are sure to hear: ‘Ciad Mille Failt’ (OneHundred Thousand Welcomes!)


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