The diverse communities across Cape Breton – Unama’ki are made up of unique people and landscapes. Here we provide a brief introduction to different regions of the Island.
Five Cape Breton Municipalities
Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) was formed in 1995, is the province’s second-largest municipality in population, and is Atlantic Canada’s third-largest metropolitan area. The CBRM is home to several communities with both urban and rural settings, and includes a number of popular sites for both visitors and residents, including the Fortress of Louisbourg, the Port of Sydney, Open Hearth Park, Centre 200, and more.
Victoria County is a rural municipality that spans from Iona at the southernmost point, to Bay St. Lawrence and Capstick at the top of the Island. It’s home to two national historic sites – the Alexander Graham Bell Museum and parts of Cape Breton Highlands National Park and the world-famous Cabot Trail.
Inverness County is located along the western side of the Island and proudly carries the identity of Canada’s Musical Coast. Inverness County comprises the entire western coastline of Cape Breton Island, including the remainder of the Cabot Trail and National Park. It reaches inland as far as the beautiful Bras d’Or Lake, featuring a significant number of world-class sandy beaches, golf experiences, and much more.
Richmond County’s rural charm makes for warm, welcoming communities with picturesque places, including Point Michaud beach, Isle Madame, Dundee Resort & Golf Club, the St.Peter’s Canal National Historic Site, and more! Richmond County is also home to the Point Tupper Heavy Industrial Park, featuring many large employers such as Port Hawkesbury Paper, NuStar, and more.
Located conveniently along the Strait of Canso, between Richmond and Inverness Counties, the Town of Port Hawkesbury is Cape Breton Island’s only town and acts as a service hub for the Strait Area and the western side of Cape Breton – Unama’ki. The Town is home to many great walking and hiking trails, the Civic Centre, the NSCC Strait Area Campus and the specialized Nautical Institute, and so much more.
Five Mi’kmaw Communities
Unama’ki is the Mi’kmaw word for Cape Breton Island, and loosely translates to “Land of Fog”. Unama’ki has been home to the Mi’kmaw people for centuries. Unama’ki is one of the districts of Mi’kma’ki (Atlantic Canada) and is home to five of the thirteen Mi’kmaw communities within the province of Nova Scotia.
Eskasoni is the world’s largest Mi’kmaw community and is home to the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR). UINR represents the five Mi’kmaw communities in Unama’ki and was formed to address concerns regarding natural resources and their sustainability. Click here to learn about Eskasoni Cultural Journeys.
Membertou is one of the most prosperous Indigenous communities in the country. Named after Grand Chief Membertou (1510-1611), Membertou is located three kilometers from Sydney’s downtown and is an ever-expanding, vibrant community. In March 2019, Membertou Development Corporation was named as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies; the first Mi’kmaq Corporation to be honoured with the Best Managed designation.
Potlotek is located along Route/Trunk 4, approximately 10 kilometres to the east of St. Peter’s and 70 kilometres to the west of Sydney. With a focus on health and wellness for all, Potlotek just added a new thermal greenhouse to its community.
Wagmatcook First Nation offers food, dance, music, education and tours at the Wagmatcook Culture & Heritage Centre. The Centre showcases the strength and diversity of the local community and recognizes the value of the language and history of the Mi’kmaq.
We’koqma’q First Nation is a rapidly growing Mi’kmaw community, economic and social development remains a priority as Chief and Council work to enhance its natural attributes. We’koqma’q is home to the beautiful Skye River Trail, a part of the Trans Canada Trail.
Take A Virtual Road Trip
For stunning portrayals of communities across the Island, watch this Celtic Colours International Music Festival Road Trip. This nine-part mini-series was produced by the Celtic Colours International Festival in 2020. Watching these videos, you’ll travel to many corners of Cape Breton – Unama’ki where you’ll meet refreshing people and see stunning places. Step inside these communities and witness the warmth, hospitality, and vibrant community spirit.Click here to submit an addition/edit to this page
Last Modified: October 1, 2021