Island forming the northeastern part of the province of Nova Scotia, Canada, comprising the counties of Cape Breton, Inverness, Victoria, and Richmond; area 10,311 sq km/3,981 sq mi; population (2001 est) 147,500. Surrounding Lake Bras D'Or, it has road and rail links with the mainland across the Strait of Canso. Cape Breton Island had coal mines and steelworks, but the last mine and steelworks closed in 2001. The declining economy and population has seen many regional development initiatives, and there has been substantial development in the strait area, with docks, oil refineries, and newsprint production from local timber, as well as tourism and fishing.
History The first European to discover the island was the English navigator, John Cabot, who arrived here in 1497. The first British colony was established in 1629 but was ceded to France in 1654 at the Peace of St Germain-en-Laye. In 1763 Cape Breton Island was returned to Britain and attached to Nova Scotia 1763–84. It was made a separate province in 1784 with Sydney as its capital, but in 1820 it was annexed to Nova Scotia once more. Most of the inhabitants of Cape Breton Island are descended from the Highland Scots who settled here in the early 19th century. The 500th anniversary of Cabot's landing here was celebrated in 1997.
Features Telecommunications history is celebrated by national historic sites around the summer home of Alexander Graham Bell and a Marconi transmission station. Louisbourg, the 18th-century French fortress town, has been partially reconstructed and is a major tourist attraction.
In the north, the land rises to 550 m/1,800 ft at North Cape, and the coast has many fine harbours; the climate is mild and very moist. The chief towns are Sydney (the terminus of the Trans-Canada Highway) and Glace Bay.
Cape Breton Island, Atlantic Canada's Masterpiece
Capital of Victoria County and resort on Cape Breton Island, northeast Novia Scotia, Canada; population (1991) 1,000. It is situated on the Cabot Tra
island (1991 pop. 161,686), 3,970 sq mi (10,282 sq km), forming the northeastern part of N.S., Canada, and separated from the mainland by the narrow