St. Ann's Bay is an area rich in history, fine arts, culture and Gaelic language. Home to the Gaelic College, the only institution of its kind in North America. Some of Cape Breton's finest artisans live on St. Ann's Bay and offer you the opportunity to visit their studio while working. Englishtown, one of the communities in this region, is one of the oldest settlements in North America having been established as a French fishing port in 1597. Later in 1629, the first French fortification in the New World was built here. Fort St. Ann was the site of the first Jesuit mission in North America.
Although St Ann's Bay stretches along some 72 kilometres, it is a tightly knit community that gathers often to celebrate its culture and dwell in its glorious outdoors. Lobster and crab fishing are key local industries, but this region is equally known for its fine crafts, artisans, musicians, writers, and outfitters. Residents and visitors alike enjoy river fishing, trail-walking, hiking,swimming, kayaking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, small-holding farming, and market gardening.
The small population supports numerous organizations that keep community spirit vibrant, among them a very active health centre, two book clubs, a theatre group, a chorale group, the Cabot Trail Writers' festival, the Gaelic Heritage Society, Englishtown Mussel Festival, and the Gaelic College celebrating its 2nd Annual KitchenFest. It is a remarkable place to visit and call home. Sample at http://theshoresofstanns.ca/
Suggested Activities & Experiences
- Enjoy seafood, music, and sporting events at the Annual Englishtown Mussel Festival.
- Participate in the Annual KitchenFest at the Gaelic College.
- Ceilidhs every Wednesday evening at 7:30 pm. during the summer (July & August) at the Gaelic College.
- Hike to the Highest Waterfalls in Nova Scotia at North River Provincial Park (18 km return).
- Take a lesson and learn to sea kayak on St. Ann's Harbour, or go on overnight trips.
- Take a tour to Bird Islands from Englishtown and see the many unique birds such as puffins, bald eagles, gannets. You may even see a glimpse of a whale or sea lion.
- Visit the Great Hall of Clans museum at Gaelic College to learn more about the clans and the early settlers including Rev. MacLeod.
- Take time to enjoy the picnic parks at St. Ann's and North River.
- Enjoy Celtic Tea Room Ceilidhs at the St. Ann's Bay Tea Room, Indian Brook on Tuesdays and Friday evenings beginning at 7:30 pm., during July & August.
- Visit the many artisan and studio shops along the North River, Tarbot, Indian Brook, North Shore, Little River and Wreck Cove areas.
- Visit the Giant MacAskill Museum at Englishtown and learn more about our Cape Breton Giant.
- Drop in to Little River Fishing Harbour for local fish and friendly conversation.
- Enjoy wonderful seafood, and dining at our restaurant, our cafe/deli and pizza.
- Hike the Red Island Trail (4km return) near the St. Ann's Bay United Church at Indian Brook, which offers wonderful views on the St. Ann's Bay, Red Island and MacDonald's Pond.
- Try your luck at trout and salmon fishing on one of Nova Scotia's top rivers, North River.
- Take part in the 8th Annual Cabot Writers Festival.
St. Ann's Bay area features accommodations, campgrounds, boat tours to Birds Island, arts & crafts shops, restaurant, deli/cafe/bakery, general store, gas station, picnic parks, and so much more.
Regional website - http://theshoresofstanns.ca/
Photo credits - Tom Wilson