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Eastern Zone: Cape Breton Island, Antigonish and Guysborough

Failte (that’s “welcome”, for those not up to speed on their Gaelic)! Nova Scotia’s Guysborough County and Cape Breton Island are the centre of Atlantic Canada’s Gaelic culture. Kitchen parties are a way of life here, and you’re never far from the Highlands that inspired the region’s first immigrants to name the province New Scotland. Here, the view of a lifetime lives around every corner, and the friendliest people live in every community. Hike, cycle, swim, golf – all in an almost unreal beauty.

This part of the province is home to two regional hospitals, located in Antigonish and Sydney, 11 community hospitals, and one Collaborative Emergency Centre serving towns nestled between the mountains and the sea. Sydney’s Cape Breton Regional Hospital is the second largest acute care facility in Nova Scotia, and St. Martha’s Regional Hospital, in Antigonish, was founded in 1906 by the Sisters of St. Martha’s congregation, and provides a wide range of health care services.

Cape Breton Island

Welcome to high-definition beauty, where stunning landscapes, Gaelic culture, and outdoor adventure all meet- – at a kitchen party, of course. Separated by a causeway from the mainland of Nova Scotia, Cape Breton is often named as one of the top island destinations in the world. Sydney is its biggest city, home to Cape Breton University. Outside of the city, it’s all about the great outdoors, including hikes, beaches, and even skiing at Ski Cape Smokey.

Cape Breton Highlands
National Park

Home to the world-famous Cabot Trail, the park is also home base for every outdoor adventure you could conjure up. Deep river canyons are carved into the forested landscape, and steep cliffs offer breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. With 26 hiking trails, six beaches, and 24 look-offs, no wonder the park attracts nature-lovers from around the world.

The Cabot Trail

You know how they say it’s about the journey, not the destination? Well, “they” could be describing the stunning Cabot Trail. Whether you travel by car, motorbike, or bicycle, you’ll be treated to a rollercoaster ride that hugs the edge of the sea for nearly 300 km. Consistently named as a must-do world attraction, it’s simply one more reason to live and work in this part of the province.

Cape Breton
Cape Breton

Seaside Golf

When you think, “best golf in the world”, does your mind go straight to Scotland? Well, Cape Breton Island is an authentic slice of Scotland right here in North America, and its courses are some of the most beautiful, challenging, and well-designed links in the world. No wonder Forbes Magazine has labeled Cape Breton Island, “The hottest island in golf.”


This “Highland Heart of Nova Scotia” is home to the oldest continuously running Highland Games outside of Scotland. It’s also where students study at one of Canada’s most prestigious universities, St. Francis Xavier University, and where citizens learn to address global challenges at the Coady International Institute. Enlivened by the student population, Antigonish is rife with old-world charm, rich in Gaelic culture, and surrounded by warm-water beaches.


Ceilidhs and Kitchen Parties

This is a place where time together with friends and family really matters. Gaelic for “gathering of music and dance”, a ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) is a lively get-together with music, dancing, and stories. Find one at pretty much any pub in the region, and yes, in the kitchens of pretty much any resident. Here, life is lived to the rhythm of a good party!




Definitively Nova Scotian in flavour, here the rugged beauty of land and sea surround you. Nestled at the north-east corner of mainland Nova Scotia, Guysborough is defined by quaint fishing villages, safe harbours, and friendly people. The area (Canso, specifically) may soon also become home to a feature that’s truly – literally – out of this world: Canada’s first and only commercial spaceport.