Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia

Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia
other_name = (CBRM)
native_name =
nickname =
motto = Fortuna Non Mutat Genus
(Circumstances Do Not Change Our Origin)

imagesize =
image_caption =

flag_size = 145px

seal_size =
shield_size =
image_blank_emblem =
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mapsize =
map_caption =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = Canada flagicon|Canada
subdivision_type1 = Province
subdivision_name1 = Nova Scotia
subdivision_type2 =
subdivision_name2 =
subdivision_type3 =
subdivision_name3 =
subdivision_type4 =
subdivision_name4 =
settlement_type = Regional Municipality
government_type = Regional Council
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name =John W. Morgan
leader_title1 = Governing Body
leader_name1 =Cape Breton Regional Council
leader_title2 =MPs
leader_name2 =Rodger Cuzner, Mark Eyking
leader_title3 =MLAs
leader_name3 = Frank Corbett, Cecil Clarke, Gordie Gosse, Manning MacDonald, Alfie MacLeod, David Wilson
established_title = Established
established_date = 1995
established_title2 =
established_date2 =
established_title3 =
established_date3 =
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 2434.39
area_total_sq_mi =
area_land_km2 =
area_land_sq_mi =
area_water_km2 =
area_water_sq_mi =
area_water_percent =
area_urban_km2 =
area_urban_sq_mi =
area_metro_km2 =
area_metro_sq_mi =
population_as_of = 2006
population_note =
settlement_type = Municipality
population_total = 102,250
population_density_km2 = 42.0
population_density_sq_mi =
population_metro =
population_density_metro_km2 =
population_density_metro_sq_mi =
population_urban =
population_density_urban_km2 =
population_density_urban_mi2 =
timezone = Atlantic (AST)
utc_offset = -4
timezone_DST = ADT
utc_offset_DST = -3
latd= |latm= |lats= |latNS=
longd= |longm= |longs= |longEW=
elevation_m = Sea Level to 119
elevation_ft = 0 to 390.4
postal_code_type =
postal_code =
area_code = 902
blank_name = Coastline
blank_info = Atlantic 800 km (500 mi)
Bras d’Or Lakes 400 km (250 mi)
blank1_name = Roadways
blank1_info = 1,600 km (1,000 mi)
blank2_name = NTS Map
blank2_info = 011K01
blank3_name = GNBC Code
blank3_info = CBUCD
website = [ Cape Breton Regional Municipality]
footnotes =
Part of a series about Places in Nova Scotia

Cape Breton Regional Municipality (2006 population: 102,250), often shortened to simply CBRM, is a regional municipality in Nova Scotia's Cape Breton County.

Its population makes it the second largest municipality in the province and the population of the former city of Sydney (33,012) also gives CBRM the distinction of having the province's third largest urban centre.

In 1995 the government of Nova Scotia sought to reduce the number of incorporated towns and cities in the province through amalgamation. CBRM was created from the former municipalities, the City of Sydney; the Towns of Dominion, Glace Bay, New Waterford, North Sydney, Sydney Mines, Louisbourg, and the Municipality of the County of Cape Breton.



Paleo-Indians camped at locations in present-day Nova Scotia approximately 11,000 years ago. Archaic Indians are believed to have been present in the area between 1,000 and 5,000 years ago. Mi'kmaq, the First Nations of this area, are their direct descendants.

The explorer John Cabot is believed to have visited present-day Cape Breton in 1497, although this claim is also contested by Newfoundland.

French settlement

The French were the first Europeans to claim the region, which was named Acadia. Control passed back and forth between the English and French throughout the late 1600s and early 1700s. Under the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, France retained control if "Île Royale". In 1719, France began construction on a fortified town located along the sheltered southwestern shore of Havre Louisbourg, naming the settlement Louisbourg.

The fortress was captured by American colonial forces, then returned by the British to France. It was captured again during the Seven Years' War which saw the inhabitants expelled and the fortress completely destroyed by British Army engineers in 1760.

Post-Acadian settlement

By proclamation of October 17, 1763 after termination of the Seven Years War, Île Royale was renamed Cape Breton Island and was formally annexed to Nova Scotia. For a time thereafter Cape Breton Island was part of Halifax County. On December 10, 1765 Cape Breton Island was set apart as a separate county. In 1784 the island was made a separate colony with its capital at Sydney however by 1820 the colony was remerged into Nova Scotia.

Industrial activity

Coal mining began during the 1700s to supply Fortress Louisbourg. Industrial mining began in 1826 under the General Mining Association monopoly, followed in later years by independent American-owned mines south of Sydney Harbour. Large-scale mining commenced in 1893 under the auspices of the Dominion Coal Company (DOMCO) which merged these independent mines. The GMA reorganized its mines on the north side of Sydney Harbour in 1900 as the Nova Scotia Steel and Coal Company (SCOTIA).

Both companies built large integrated steel mills on their respective sides of Sydney Harbour in 1901; DOMCO's steel mill in Whitney Pier was known as Dominion Iron and Steel Company Limited (DISCO). In 1910, DOMCO and DISCO formed the Sydney & Louisburg Railway to haul coal and steel from the mines and mill to these ports. In 1914, SCOTIA closed its steel mill in Sydney Mines, focusing exclusively on coal production. In 1920, SCOTIA merged into DOMCO/DISCO to form the British Empire Steel Corporation (BESCO) and began a protracted series of disputes with the United Mine Workers of America, District 26; BESCO's anti-labour policies resulted in this district becoming one of the most militant in North America and made Industrial Cape Breton a pro-labour community. In 1930, BESCO reorganized as Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation (DOSCO) and abandoned the anti-labour tactics.

Coal production under DOSCO peaked in the early 1940s and in 1957 the company became a subsidiary of Hawker-Siddley Group. Hawker-Siddley's DOSCO subsidiary announced in 1965 that its mines had only 15 years of production left and concluded that opening new underground mines in the Sydney Coal Field would be too expensive. The company made its intentions clear that it would be exiting the coal mining business within months.

In response to a vast public outcry in industrial Cape Breton County, the Minority government of Prime Minister Lester Pearson announced J.R. Donald would head a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Cape Breton coal industry, with hearings held in 1965 and 1966. The Donald Commission recommended that a federal Crown corporation be established to acquire and manage DOSCO's coal operations, with the aim being to slowly wean the area economy from its dependence on the coal industry.

::"Future planning should be based on the assumption that the Sydney [sic] mines will not operate beyond 1981."

On July 7, 1967 the Cape Breton Development Corporation (DEVCO), was established to operate the mines in the interim, while phasing them out throughout the 1970s and, at the same time, develop new economic opportunities for the surrounding communities. On March 30, 1968 DEVCO expropriated DOSCO's coal mines and railway, settling for a payment of $12 million.

At the same time, the provincial government expropriated DOSCO's steel mill in Sydney, creating the Sydney Steel Corporation (SYSCO), while DEVCO would continue to operate the adjacent coke ovens.

Although DEVCO initially sought to reduce coal mining, the global energy crisis of the mid-1970s saw the federal government change its mind and coal production increased with new mines being developed near New Waterford and on Boularderie Island. In the 1980s, older mines in Glace Bay were closed and SYSCO stopped using coke as a fuel for its mill, resulting in declining demand for coal. By the early 1990s, production problems in the newer mines saw DEVCO reduce its workforce, while problems in the international steel markets saw SYSCO lose its competitive advantage, resulting in similar layoffs.

DEVCO's Lingan Colliery closed in 1992, followed by the Phalen Colliery in 1999 and the Prince Colliery in 2001. At the same time, the provincial government decided to dismantle and sell SYSCO. A federal government economic development initiative is attempting to diversify the CBRM economy.

Aside from coal mining, CBRM is also home to several other industrial activities, namely the fishery and forestry. Forest harvesting takes place on both private and Crown land in its rural districts with wood trucked to other parts of Nova Scotia for processing. The region is home to a sizable fishing fleet, ranging from lobster and scallop harvesting to groundfish trawlers. Fishing was an economic mainstay for coastal communities in the region throughout the 20th century, particularly through industrialization, however by the 1990s many fish stocks were depleted by overfishing, although some fish processing still occurs in the region.


The Haywood Report in 1993 stated that 67 municipalities in Nova Scotia were too many to efficiently and cost effectively provide services in a province having a population of slightly more than 900,000. The report was commissioned for the Progressive Conservative government of Donald Cameron, but was taken up and implemented by the incoming Liberal government of John Savage.

The provincial government subsequently forced the amalgamation of both Halifax and Cape Breton counties and supported the voluntary amalgamation of Queens Regional Municipality. The "Cape Breton Regional Municipality Act" was implemented and the CBRM was created on August 1, 1995, whereas the amalgamation in Halifax County didn't take place until April 1, 1996 and Queens County several years later.

Climate and geography

The boundary of CBRM includes all of Cape Breton County except for the Eskasoni and Membertou First Nations.

See List of communities in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

The climate of the CBRM is cool and wet although it is warmer than most other places in Canada. The average annual temperature is close to 6 degrees Celsius (43°F). Average summer maximum temperature is 25 degrees Celsius (77°F). Temperatures are rarely above 30°C (86°F). Winter minimums are usually around -15°C (5°F) and rarely drop below -20°C (-4°F) although strong winter winds can make it seem much colder.


CBRM has public schools operated by the provincial government's Department of Education, providing instruction for grades K-12. The schools are part of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, along with schools in neighbouring Victoria County.

The regional municipality is home to Cape Breton University (CBU) - formerly known as the University College of Cape Breton (UCCB) - located approximately seven kilometres east of Sydney on the highway to Glace Bay. It is also home to the Marconi Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College, which is located on property adjacent to the Cape Breton University campus.

Culture, sport, and recreation

CBRM's culture is dominated by the Scottish Gaelic, or "Celtic" heritage common to most of Cape Breton Island, however the urban industrial area of CBRM is also influenced by a mixture of other cultures including African Canadian, Jewish, Newfoundland, Irish, and a variety of Eastern European countries.

CBRM is home to several performance centres, including the Centre 200 sports arena in Sydney (home to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles QMJHL team) and the historic Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay. Glace Bay is home to the Cape Breton Miners' Museum, the Marconi National Historic Site and the Glace Bay Heritage Museum. Louisbourg is home to Fortress Louisbourg, the largest historical reconstruction in North America.

CBRM hosts a CBC Radio studio with morning and afternoon broadcasts across Cape Breton Island. There are also five commercial radio stations. The municipality used to host CBC and ATV television studios, however these studios were closed in the 1980s and television news programming for Cape Breton Island is now broadcast from Halifax for these networks.

CBRM has a daily newspaper, the "Cape Breton Post", which is a broadsheet focusing on Cape Breton Island. Its editorial style is populist conservative, and it is owned by Transcontinental Media. The Halifax-based "Chronicle-Herald" is a daily broadsheet covering the entire province and maintains a bureau in Sydney. "Boardwalk" is an independently-owned free "alternative bi-weekly" focused primarily on arts and culture in Cape Breton.

Economy and recent development

CBRM has been undergoing an economic decline for several decades as the region adjusts from an industrial to a post-industrial or service economy. Large parts of Atlantic Canada were hard hit by the closure of the cod fishery in the 1990s, including the closure of several fish plants in southeastern Cape Breton Island. The CBRM also suffered as the coal and steel industry went into decline. Sydney Steel Corporation's steel mill was permanently closed in 2000, followed by the last of the Cape Breton Development Corporation's coal mines in 2001. Since this time, the federal and provincial governments have been attempting to diversify the local economy. Currently, the former Sydney Steel Corporation's site in Sydney has been transformed into the Harbourside Commercial Park, and is currently seeking tenants to occupy prime office and light industrial space. The Sydney Port Access Road or SPAR, links Harbourside Commercial Park to Highway 125.

Today, CBRM continues to deal with the environmental results of one hundred years of mining and steel making. The most significant is the cleanup of the Sydney Tar Ponds, a tidal estuary contaminated with a variety of coal-based wastes from coke ovens which created fuel for the steel mill. To date, much of the preliminary work on the project is completed, such as the dismantling of derelict buildings on the former Coke Ovens site, the re-routing of Coke Ovens Brook, and the construction of a coffer dam at Battery Point where the South Tar Pond empties into Sydney Harbour.

CBRM is home to a significant tourism industry. Nearby attractions such as the Cape Breton Highlands, Bras d'Or Lake and Fortress Louisbourg have made Cape Breton Island a tourism destination for many years. A growing cruise ship business has been making use of the port of Sydney to give cruise passengers access to the area. The Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion is a modern facility located on Sydney's Government Wharf and greets cruise ship passengers to the sight of a 50-foot high illuminated fiddle which plays celtic music. The Port of Sydney hosts 50 cruise ships per season, most notably the Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth 2, and Maasdam.

The port also holds potential in any future offshore petroleum and natural gas exploration in the Laurentian Basin, southeast of Cape Breton Island; an area that has been touted as a potential economic catalyst for the industrial Cape Breton area. Light manufacturing and information technology are other sectors which governments are attempting to strengthen in the local economy.

In recent years, CBRM's retail sector has expanded and many "big box" stores have either been constructed or expanded. The Sydney Port Access Road has fueled this growth and has attracted retailers to expand their operations; Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire have relocated to the road, as well as a new Home Depot. The Mayflower Mall, Cape Breton Island's largest shopping centre, plans to divide the old Wal-Mart location and will add on three new large retailers, Winners, SportChek, and Future Shop, all opening in Fall 2007. Burnac Corporation of Toronto, which manages the Mayflower Mall, also has plans to open the Sydney Power Centre across the street at the corner of the SPAR and Highway 125. Hopefully, the addition of these new retailers will encourage CBRM residents to take advantage of shopping opportunities at home instead of traveling to other urban areas such as Halifax or Moncton.



The Cape Breton Regional Municipality Council is composed of a Mayor elected at-large and 16 Councillors, each of whom are elected to represent a separate district. Council and its committees meet at least once a month. Municipal governments in Nova Scotia are elected every four years, and the next round of elections is scheduled in October 2008.

CBRM's current mayor has been an active advocate for "fair and equitable treatment" of the regional municipality by the federal and provincial governments, specifically arguing the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia that provincial government has a constitutional obligation to provide higher equalization payments to the municipality.

Council has also authorized several studies regarding fairness and equity, and has debated proposals to politically and administratively separate Cape Breton Regional Municipality, or possibly Cape Breton Island from Nova Scotia.


CBRM is the western terminus of the Marine Atlantic ferry services to Newfoundland. It is also the eastern terminus of two east-west highways in the province: Highway 105, the Trans-Canada Highway, runs along the north shore of Bras d'Or Lake and accesses the northern part of CBRM, whereas Trunk 4 extends along the southern part of Bras d'Or Lake and accesses the western and eastern part of the municipality. Both highways are linked by the limited access Highway 125 which is a regional arterial highway around Sydney Harbour. Highway 125 is currently being upgraded from 2-lane limited access to a 4-lane expressway. Trunk 4 is currently scheduled to be upgraded to a 4-lane expressway on the southern shore of Bras d'Or Lake from its interchange with Highway 125 in CBRM to the Canso Causeway; construction is estimated to be complete in the 2010s. Fact|date=August 2008

Transit Cape Breton is CBRM's public transit service and offers thirteen bus routes within the municipality, serving the region's larger communities: Sydney, Sydney River, Glace Bay, New Waterford, Dominion, Reserve Mines, North Sydney and Sydney Mines. A "Handi-Trans" mode of transport is available for passengers whose disabilities restrict them from using Transit Cape Breton's regular bus service. Fares range from $1.00 to $5.00, depending on how many zones are traveled. [cite map
publisher=Cape Breton Regional Municipality
title=Transit Cape Breton Riders' Guide
edition=October 2007

The Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway and the Sydney Coal Railway provide rail service to CBRM and the port of Sydney.

Protective services

;PoliceThe Cape Breton Regional Police Service provides policing for all areas of CBRM with the exception of the First Nation community of Eskasoni which is policed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The CBRPS operates out of three geographic divisions, Central (Sydney), East (Glace Bay) and North (North Sydney). The CBRPS works towards providing efficient law enforcement and working within the community and has recently cracked down on drug related crime in CBRM.

Policing in Cape Breton County prior to amalgamation was originally the responsibility of individual police forces in the towns of North Sydney, Sydney Mines, New Waterford, Glace Bay and Louisbourg, as well as the city of Sydney. Policing in the unincorporated areas of Cape Breton County was the responsibility of contract policing with the RCMP. Post-amalgamation saw the CBRPS take over policing from the municipal forces while the RCMP maintained its contract policing in the former county.

Several years after amalgamation (late 1990s), the CBRM sought to consolidate police services with either the CBRPS or the RCMP. A divisive debate ensued with many rural residents wishing to see the non-unionized RCMP take over policing across CBRM Fact|date=August 2008 and led their lobbying effort through a group calling itself "Citizens in Action" (CIA). The urban areas, influenced by decades of organized labour activities Fact|date=August 2008, wished to see the unionized CBRPS take over the RCMP's duties across CBRM and this ultimately was the policy adopted.

;FireFire services for the CBRM are provided by the Cape Breton Regional Fire Service which consists of 36 fire stations dispersed throughout the municipality; urban stations are staffed by career firefighters whereas rural stations are staffed by volunteers.

;AmbulanceAmbulance service in the CBRM is provided by the provincial government's Emergency Health Services.

;Emergency Measures OrganizationThe provincial Emergency Measures Act requires each municipality to develop an emergency measures organization. The CBRM has passed the Emergency Measures By-Law C2 which enables the CBRM Emergency Plan and allows the provincial Emergency Measures Organization (a division of the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources) to maintain it. The CBRM EMO By-Law provides the following:: EMO Advisory Committee, Emergency Measures Coordinator, and an Emergency Preparedness Planning Committee.

Neighbourhoods and towns

Former cities and towns

*Glace Bay
*New Waterford
*North Sydney
*Sydney Mines


*Albert Bridge
*Alder Point
*Barachois Harbour
*Beaver Cove
*Ben Eoin
*Big Beach
*Big Pond
*Birch Grove
*Christmas Island
*Boularderie Island
*East Bay
*Gabarus Lake
*Gardiner Mines
*Georges River
*Glace Bay
*Grand Lake Road
*Grand Narrows
*Hornes Road
*Howie Centre
*Leitches Creek
*Little Bras d'Or
*Marion Bridge
*Middle Cape
*Mira Road
*New Victoria
*New Waterford
*North Sydney
*Point Aconi
*Port Morien
*Reserve Mines
*Round Island
*Salem Road
*Salmon River Road
*South Bar
*Sydney Forks
*Sydney Mines
*Sydney River
*Trout Brook
*Victoria Bridge

External links

* [ Cape Breton Regional Municipality - Official Website]
* [ Cape Breton local]
* [ Photographs of historic monuments in Cape Breton Regional Municipality]


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