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Cape Breton
By C. W. Vernon


Take a tour of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada ~ the Celtic Heart of North America, with the island's very own Gaelic songstress, Mary Jane Lamond. The video features the Celtic Colours International Festival, Celtic Music Interpretive Centre, Colaisde Na Gàidhlig (Gaelic College), Highland Village / An Clachan Gàidhealach, Glenora Inn & Distillery, Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design and more.
To learn more about Cape Breton Island - the Celtic Heart of North America, go to

THE beginning of this twentieth century the eyes of the world have been directed towards Cape Breton, as a result of the important developments which have taken place in the coal, iron and steel industries at and in the vicinity of the Sydneys. Not only from an industrial, but from many other points of view, is the island worthy of careful study.

Situated at the extreme outpost of the American continent, Cape Breton has the heritage of a history of absorbing interest, indissolubly connected, as it is, with the triumph of British arms in the New World and the gradual growth of the Great Dominion. Vestiges still remaining bear witness to its early struggles and its wars. Louisburg, no less than the Plains of Abraham, must forever figure in the story of that heroic struggle which resulted in the establishment of Anglo-Saxon supremacy in North America.

Since the final overthrow of French dominion, Cape Breton has enjoyed a period of profound peace, during which its hardy people have tilled the soil, followed the sea, and delved the mine, acquiring many noble and enduring qualities in the stern school of toil and hardship.

Its enormous deposits of coal constitute Cape Breton’s best possession. Mined and exported with profit for years, their full value was not realized until the formation of the Dominion Coal Company led to the present great and increasing output. With coal at tidewater, and limestone in abundance, it needed only the discovery of the easily-mined and cheaply-shipped iron ore of Bell Island, Newfoundland, to make Cape Breton the seat of a prosperous iron and steel-making industry. The chief iron-producing districts of this continent are far inland; hence the industry is burdened by arbitrary and heavy freight charges. Water transportation, the natural highway of commerce, solves forever the question of freights, inasmuch as it is open to universal competition. Herein is Cape Breton’s supremacy. This is the impregnable position which insures the prosperity and the greatness of its commercial life. As its industries flourish, its commerce must increase. Cape Breton has, in these stirring times, begun a new warfare. It is not to devastate and to destroy, but to create and build up. To-day the greatest bravery is shown, not by armies in deadly conflict, but by the heroic and invincible hosts of labor in the fields of peace. Cape Breton, so long untouched by the onward march of commercial progress, is now alive with productive activities, and its own people, as well as hundreds who have come to its favored shores, are beginning to reap the fruits of its prosperity. Furthermore, Cape Breton, already famous for the beauty of its scenery of sea and mountain, lake and hill, deserves that the brightness of its skies, the invigorating properties of its pure air, the splendor of its crystal waters, and the loveliness of its landscapes should be still more widely known and appreciated.

The object of this book, therefore, is to set forth briefly the history of the island, to tell the story of its industrial development, and to describe its present condition, its resources and prospects, its busy towns and charming country districts, its glorious hills and its limpid rivers and lakes. To this end the publishers have spared no expense and no labor in the preparation of the illustrations; and the author has endeavored, while striving to avoid exaggeration, to make the book as widely interesting as possible.

In the preparation of a work so comprehensive in character, it is necessary that outside sources should be widely drawn upon. The author especially desires to acknowledge his indebtedness to the excellent works on the history of the island by the late Richard Brown, F. G. S., and the late Sir John Bourinot, to Mr. Richard Brown’s “History of the Coal Trade in Cape Breton,” to Dawson’s “Acadian Geology,” to Gilpin’s “Ores of Nova Scotia,” to blue-books of the Dominion and Provincial Governments, to Bell’s “Mining Manual,” to special editions of the Toronto Globe, Montreal Star, Morning Chronicle (Halifax), and Halifax Herald; to an exceedingly able article on “Steel Making in Cape Breton,” by E. W. Hanna, M.E., which appeared in the Cape Breton Magazine; and finally, to a host of friends who, by letter and word of mouth, and by the loan of books, pictures and manuscripts, supplied much interesting information and many valuable suggestions.

North Sydney, November, 1902.

You can read this book here in pdf format

Great E.A.R.T.H. Expeditions - Nova Scotia's adventure tour specialists take you on a journey through Cape Breton Island. Once rated as the #2 island destination in the world by National Geographic Explorer. Truly one of the most peaceful and beautiful places on earth and the jewel of the east coast of Canada.

See Alastair's 2 week holiday in Cape Breton
Loads of pictures all thumbnailed so by clicking on any picture a larger version will be displayed

This is a beautiful video of Cape Breton Island
Narrated in the German language

History of Inverness County, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
By J. L. MacDougall (1922)
The J.A. Douglas McCurdy Airport
A history of the airport

Death of Community: A Story from Cape Breton
A 2 part video about problems in Cape Breton
Sailing in Cape Breton

The Gaelic Bards from 1825 - 1875
By Rev. A. Maclean Sinclair (1904) (pdf)
The Coal Fields and Coal Trade of the Island of Cape Breton
By Richard Brown F.G.S. &c. 1871
Cape Breton as a Field for Enterprise
By J. L. McDougall
Cape Breton Folk
By C. H. Farnham (1885)
Cape Breton Tales
A couple of small books including one on the MicMac
History of Religion in Cape Breton

International Appalachian Trail (IAT)
Am Bràighe
Am Bràighe (the higher ground) was a Scottish Gaelic cultural newspaper that was headquartered in Mabou, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. Approximately one-fourth of the articles were in Scottish Gaelic and the remainder in English. (External site)
Cape Breton Magazine
Here are all of the 74 issues of Cape Breton's Magazine (External site)
Historical and Descriptive Account of the Island of Cape Breton
And of its Memorials of the French Regime with bibliographic, Historical and Critical Notes by J. G. Rourinot (1892) (pdf)
Louisbourg from its Foundation to its Fall 1713 - 1758
By J. S. McLennan (1918) (pdf)
Cape Breton and its Memorials of the French Régime
By J. G. Bourinot, C.M.G., LL.D., D.C.L. (1891) (pdf)

Return to our History of Nova Scotia Page


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