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10 Cultural Experiences on Cape Breton Island

Story by: Team Destination Cape Breton

Experience 10 of Cape Breton Island’s Cultural Experiences on your next island adventure. Learn to make traditional four-cent bread, dance with a Highlander, learn a new language and partake in centuries-old Acadian festivals all summer long. 

1. Eskasoni Cultural Journeys

The 2.4-kilometre hiking trail will take you across Goat Island, along the beautifully scenic Bras d’Or Lake. Here you will experience several facets of traditional life as you meet and interact with heritage interpreters who are delighted to share their knowledge with you. Learn to dance, make an ornament from your newly learned weaving skills and cook traditional four cents bread over an open fire. Your tour will take two hours and will leave you wanting more!

Bras d’Or Lake 10

2. Membertou Heritage Park

The Membertou Heritage Park is a large indoor exhibit and program area that offers visitors full immersion in an ancient culture and provides a living history of the people of Membertou. The park honours the spirituality and the strength of the Membertou people telling its story, educating and sharing the Mi’kmaq culture, and assisting in preserving the Mi’kmaq heritage.

9 Great Experiences in the Membertou Heritage Park 7

3. Membertou Mi’Kmaq Medicine Walk 

Throughout this tour, you will learn the medicinal practices used by Mi’Kmaq ancestors while walking through a beautifully wooded trail in Membertou. The experience then continues with a dreamcatcher workshop, the breaking of traditional (luskinikn) bread and then shopping at Petroglyphs Gift Shop.

Engage Your Senses with Membertou's Mi'kmaq Medicine Walk 2

4. Colaisde na Gàidhlig/The Gaelic College 

Colaisde na Gàidhlig is first and foremost an educational non-profit institution, offering year-round programming in the culture, music, language, crafts, customs, and traditions of the immigrants from the Highlands of Scotland. The only institution of its kind in North America, students of all ages and skill levels visit the College every year to study under some of the finest instructors in Nova Scotia Gaelic culture. With an international reputation for its contribution to the preservation and promotion of Gaelic culture, the Gaelic College offers a truly one-of-a-kind learning experience.

Colaisde na Gàidhlig | The Gaelic College

5. Celtic Music Interpretive Centre

The Celtic Music Interpretive Centre (CMIC) is a not-for-profit society and a one-of-a-kind facility located in the tiny village of Judique, Cape Breton Island. The official Celtic Music Centre of Nova Scotia and the official Cultural Archives for the County of Inverness, CMIC offers an in-depth look into the history, culture, and music of Cape Breton Island. They offer year-round Ceilidhs featuring authentic live traditional music, special concerts, Ceilidh Pub Restaurant and Bar, an interactive Exhibit Room, Celtic Culture Demonstration, Musical Walking Tours and more!

A girl dances outside a building that says Celtic Music Interpretive Centre

6.  Celtic Colours International Festival

The Celtic Colours International Festival is a unique celebration of Cape Breton Island’s living traditional culture. For nine days in October, you’ll discover hundreds of events and activities taking place in communities across the Island. At one of the many concerts, you’ll find some of the world’s finest musicians sharing the stage with Cape Breton Island’s best singers, dancers, players, story-tellers, and culture bearers in venues that range from community halls and churches to modern schools and theatres.

Live music played on stage

7. Baile nan Gàidheal/Highland Village

Nova Scotia’s incredible Scottish Gaelic culture comes alive with costumed staff in full historic dress, an array of farm animals, and much more. Their costumed animators will help you experience the history of settlement and the unique Gaelic culture of Nova Scotia. Take a tour up the hill and walk through period buildings with historic design, filled with related artifacts. Sit and enjoy a breathtaking view while listening to the annual Highland Village Day concert featuring premium traditional Cape Breton Gaelic music, song, and dance.

Baile nan Gàidheal | Highland Village – Made of Stories – Experiential Tour 1

8. Les Trois Pignons

Les Trois Pignons features the Elizabeth LeFort Gallery and the Marguerite Gallant Collection, which display hundreds of antiques reflecting the daily life of the Chéticamp settlers. Prominent are examples of tools and demonstrations of techniques used in the creation of the world-renowned Chéticamp hooked rugs. Les Trois Pignons also features a genealogy centre where locals can trace their roots.

woman crafts small Acadian flags

9. Centre de La Mi-Carême

The Mi-Carême Centre promotes the rich tradition of the Mi-Carême fête that has been celebrated in the local Acadian area for centuries. The Interpretive Centre, located on the picturesque Grand Étang Harbour, features stunning displays, gives a historical overview, and offers a variety of monthly events. Here you can learn about the mid-lent celebration, featuring masks, music, and dance, through interactive exhibits.

Canada’s Musical Coast 12

10. Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site

Surrounded by Cape Breton’s rocky shoreline, the Fortress of Louisbourg brings you back to French colonial life between 1713 and 1758. First the home of L’nu, also known as the Mi’kmaq, the 18th century brought French, Basque, German, English, Irish, Scottish, and African people to its shores. Immerse yourself in this diverse history as you explore a beautiful coastal landscape. Take in the looming fortifications, kitchen gardens, and elegant houses of the reconstruction, then wander original 18th-century ruins for a full experience of the past come to life.


History and Unspoiled Natural Beauty at Louisbourg
Team Destination Cape Breton 3

Team Destination Cape Breton

Our team at Destination Cape Breton is always exploring our beautiful Island. We love discovering our hidden gems, working with partners, and putting our Island on the pedestal it deserves!

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