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Metropolitan Cape Breton, Nova Scotia


Metropolitan Cape Breton has a warm welcome waiting for you. Fine hotels, restaurants, museums and attractions make it one of the island's favourite stopping places.

Glace Bay, at the junction of Routes 4, 28 and 255, is a former coal-mining town. "Glace" is French for "ice," and the town was so named because of drift ice in the harbour. Glace Bay has several shopping areas, a wharf with a small fishing fleet, Renwick Brook Park, two hospitals, police and a performing arts centre. At the Miner's Museum at Quarry Point, a major tourist attraction in Cape Breton, tour Ocean Deeps Colliery and learn about the history of Cape Breton coal mining.

At Table Head, the Marconi National Historic Site features a small museum which documents Marconi's telegraphic achievements in Cape Breton.

Savoy Theatre on Union Street, built in 1927, is both a community landmark and an active performing centre with a variety of entertainment staged throughout the year.

The city of Sydney and the towns of Reserve Mines, Glace Bay, Dominion, New Waterford, North Sydney, Sydney Mines and Louisbourg are included in this area.

Three-quarters of the island's population lives here. Manufacturing, fishing, fish processing and coal mining are primary industries. Sydney, North Sydney and Sydport, an industrial and marine park, offer excellent port facilities. The Marine Atlantic ferries, transporting passengers and vehicles to Newfoundland, depart from North Sydney.

Sydney, situated on a large, protected harbour is Nova Scotia's third-largest community. Sydney's many visitor services include accommodations, banks, university, restaurants, shopping areas, police, hospitals, parks, museums, recreational facilities, harbour cruises, an airport and a bus terminal. The city is also a major cruise ship destination.

Founded in 1785 by Col. J.F.W. DesBarres, Sydney was first settled by Loyalists from New York State, who were followed 20 years later by immigrants from the Scottish Highlands. Sydney boomed at the turn of the century with the construction of the Dominion Steel and Coal Company steel plant at Whitney Pier, then the largest self-contained steel plant in North America and still the city's major industry.

Tourist attractions in Sydney include Wentworth Park, a narrow band of green area near the city centre, with duck ponds, walking paths and picnic areas; Cossit House on Charlotte Street, built in 1787, the oldest house in Sydney and now a provincial museum; St. Patrick's Church, an historical museum located on the Esplanade near the government wharf; the Jost House on Charlotte Street, a 200-year-old wooden dwelling; and the Cape Breton Centre for Heritage and Science.

Sydney celebrates its heritage every summer with a colourful festival of music, sports and special events during Action Week, the first week in August. Sydney is also home to Summertime Productions, which performs variety revues throughout the province, and to the Cape Breton Chorale, a community choir whose repertoire spans both religious and secular music, including traditional Nova Scotia folk songs. Centre 200 is a sports and culture complex which hosts events throughout the year.

A number of highways radiate from Sydney, leading through area towns to scenic travel ways and major tourist attractions. These include Route 4 to Glace Bay, 19 km away; Route 22 to Louisbourg and the Fleur-de-lis Trail; and Route 28, an alternative route to Glace Bay via New Waterford, 22 km away, and Dominion.

Route 4 leaves Sydney via Prince Street and the Sydney-Glace Bay Highway. On the eastern outskirts of Sydney is the University College of Cape Breton campus. Across the road from the university is the Lingan Golf and Country Club, an 18-hole course which welcomes visiting players.

Reserve Mines, a former mining district, is the location of Sydney Airport. This airport has daily flights to major Canadian and American cities and to the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. Route 4 terminates in Glace Bay.

Route 22 leaves Sydney via George Street to the Fortress Louisbourg,, 37 km (23 mi.) away on the Fleur-de-lis and Marconi Trails.

Route 28 leads from Sydney to Glace Bay via New Waterford and Dominion. Take Victoria Road, left, off Prince Street, Route 4.

New Waterford is situated at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, near the entrance to Sydney Harbour. Services include restaurants, banks, a hospital, service stations and a shopping district. The wharf is busy with the activities of a local fishing fleet.

New Waterford is the largest coal-producing town in eastern Canada. The Lingan mine is located on the outskirts of town. In 1925 the town was the site of a bitter strike that included armed battles between townspeople and British Empire Steel Company police. During a march on the Waterford Lake Power Plant on June 11, miner William Davis was shot and killed. A monument on Baker Street tells the story of this tragic event, and June 11 is now celebrated as Miners' Memorial Day throughout the coalfields of Cape Breton.

River Ryan, located on the outskirts of town, features a public beach as well as great fishing, a campground, and restaurant facilities equipped with picnic tables.

The Colliery Lands Park in New Waterford is located on the site of the former No. 12 and No. 16 coal mines. Here a mine fatality memorial commemorates the 298 miners killed over the years in the local collieries. The park features an exposed coal seam, a representative mine slope, a coal hopper-car display, picnic tables and a bandshell. New Waterford Coal Dust Days are held annually in July.

Dominion is a former coal-mining town. Dominion Seaside Days are held annually in August. Dominion Beach Park is a major recreation area, with picnic tables and supervised swimming. From Dominion, Route 28 proceeds into Glace Bay.

Route 4 west leads from Sydney to Sydney River at the junction with Routes 305 and 125. A suburb of the city of Sydney and a major shopping district, Sydney River is the location of the a visitor information centre, painted in the colours and design of the Cape Breton tartan. Route 4 continues along the south shore of the Bras d'Or Lake to St. Peter's.

From Sydney River, Route 305 turns towards North Sydney off Route 4.

Route 239, right, is a loop road through Westmount and Edwardsville.

At Leitches Creek, Route 223, left, leads to Grand Narrows and Iona on the Bras d'Or Lake. Route 305 turns right to North Sydney.

North Sydney, an historic seaport incorporated in 1885, is situated on Sydney Harbour. It is the terminal of Marine Atlantic ferry service to Newfoundland. It offers accommodations, banks, a hospital, restaurants, fast food outlets, a tourist bureau, recreation facilities, parks, beaches, service stations, and R.V. and marine repairs. The Northern Yacht Club welcomes visiting mariners by road or sea. Golfers will enjoy a day at the 18-hole Seaview Golf & Country Club, and families find lots to do at Gallop's Funland.

Harbour tours, yacht rentals and Marine Atlantic day cruises are available. Local entertainers provide traditional and modern musical ceilidhs at various venues throughout the town, including the Marine Atlantic Terminal located at the end of Route 105. Major festivals include Canada Day celebrations, Bartown Festival in July and the Cape Breton Exhibition held annually during the third week of August. A museum located at the North Sydney Fire Station provides information on the town's history and its large number of heritage homes.

Sydney Mines grew up around the great coal fields of Sydney Harbour, where coal mining started as early as 1766. A beautifully restored post office which has since become the Town Hall is located at the centre of the business district. Services include a mainstreet shopping district featuring weekly farmers' markets, banks, town police, a hospital, parks, playgrounds, enhanced recreational facilities, restaurants and accommodations. Various town events, such as Canada Day and a fall festival, feature nationally known local musicians and artists throughout the tourist season. A number of craft locations in the town feature locally produced crafts, including a unique line of pottery depicting the mining heritage of the area.

Route 305 ends at Little Bras d'Or at Exit 18. Highway 105 to the left leads back to North Sydney and Sydney. Right on Highway 105 leads to Baddeck and the Cabot Trail

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