Spotlight on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada


            The Cabot Trail, which traverses the coastline of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and also crosses the highlands of its interior, is another of Canada’s spectacular scenic drives. Entry and exit points for the drive are near the city of Baddeck.  The drive can be started either on the east or west side of Cape Breton.  Visitors should note that the larger Visitor Center is on the western side of the drive, at Cheticamp.  The southerly parts of the drive are not particularly special, but the northerly sections provide not only spectacular scenery but steep climbs and hairpin turns as well.  This upper section is within the boundaries of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, which extends from Ingonish on the east to Cheticamp on the west.  Also within the park are numerous trails or hikes, scenic overlooks, and several villages and detours to explore.

            Not far from the eastern entrance to the Cabot Trail, actually on the eastern coast of Cape Breton is the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site.  This wonderful open air museum allows visitors to embark on a journey back in time to a French colonial city in the year 1744.  Much of the original settlement has been restored and costumed residents provide information about the times and their particular station in life.  Demonstrations and exhibits reveal the practices of the time and visitors are even invited to sample the food of the era.  Shuttle buses provide transport from the Visitor Center which offers information and displays concerning Louisbourg.  Guided tours are offered in English and in French.

            The King’s Bastion is a must-see location on the site. It was the royal residence and the Governor’s quarters are about as posh and elegant as the colony could muster. Many of the homes and other buildings are not only open, but they function as they might have long ago.


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