In 1955, Cape Breton Island was connected to North America via the Canso Causeway; a strong island identity prevails, expressed as quasi-nationalistic pride and warm hospitality. Sydney residents maintain a tradition of “going to the bungalow” in summer, but cottage life across Cape Breton now includes many out-of-province owners.
There are famously beautiful beaches at Inverness on the west side and at Ingonish on the east, near the entrance to Cape Breton Highlands National Park. But many small, secluded beaches are scattered along the coast. There are affordable places on freshwater lakes, but most Cape Breton cottagers want the saltwater experience. For a little of both, try the brackish waters of Bras d’Or Lake. It’s a boater’s paradise with protected coastline and access to open ocean for adventurous sailors. Places with deep-water mooring are pricey, but this inland sea is served by marinas in communities such as St. Peter’s, Baddeck, and Ben Eoin.
Ceilidhs, traditional Gaelic social gatherings, are held regularly in many communities, often featuring world-class fiddlers. And if you cottage into October you’ll enjoy spectacular fall foliage as well as an extensive lineup of international and local musicians at the Celtic Colours International Festival.