Cape Breton Regional Municipality
Cape Breton Regional Municipality referred to as CBRM, is the Canadian province of Nova Scotia's second largest municipality and the economic heart of Cape Breton Island. As of 2016 the municipality has a population of 94,285; the municipality was created in 1995 through the amalgamation of eight municipalities located in Cape Breton County. The region is home to a significant concentration of government services, social enterprise and private sector companies, including the Canadian Coast Guard College, Cape Breton University, NSCC Marconi campus, New Dawn Enterprises; the rural areas of the municipality continue to host resource industries such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. CBRM is host to many cultural landmarks and institutions such as the Celtic Colours International Festival, the Cape Breton Centre for Craft, the Highland Arts Theatre, Holy Angels Arts & Cultural centre undergoing a $12 million renovation; the area hosts one of Nova Scotia's premier tourism destinations, the Fortress of Louisbourg national park site, operated by Parks Canada as a living history museum.
The site stands as the largest reconstruction project in North America. The Port of Sydney was projected to welcome a record 135,000 cruise ship visitors in 2017, a 67% increase on 2016; the Trans-Canada Highway terminates in North Sydney where Marine Atlantic ferries connect to both Channel-Port aux Basques and Labrador, where the highway starts again, Argentia. The glaciers began their retreat from the Maritimes 13,500 years ago, with final deglaciation, post-glacial rebound, sea level fluctuation ending and leaving the New England-Maritimes region ice free 11,000 years ago; the earliest evidence of Paleo-Indian settlement in the region follows after deglaciation. Evidence of settlement found in the Debert Palaeo-Indian Site dates to 10,600 before present, though settlement seems to have occurred earlier, following large game animals such as the caribou as they expanded into the land revealed by the retreating glaciers; the record of continuous habitation through the paleo and archaic period over ten thousand years culminated in the development of the culture and language of the First Nations people now known as the Mi'kmaq.
For several thousand years the area now known as Cape Breton Island has been a part of the territory of the Mi'kmaq nation of Mi'kma'ki. Mi'kma'ki includes what is now the Maritimes, parts of Maine and the Gaspé Peninsula. Cape Breton Regional Municipality is located in the Mi'kmaw district of Unama'kik; the French were the first Europeans to claim the region, named Acadia. Control passed back and forth between the English and French throughout the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Under the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, France retained control of "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 British colonial forces returned by the British to France. It was captured again during the Seven Years' War which saw the inhabitants expelled and the fortress destroyed by British Army engineers in 1760. 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. Coal mining began during the 18th century to supply Fortress Louisbourg. Industrial mining began in 1826 under the General Mining Association monopoly, followed in years by independent American-owned mines south of Sydney Harbour. Large-scale mining commenced in 1893 under the auspices of the Dominion Coal Company which merged these independent mines. Coal production under Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation peaked in the early 1940s and in 1957 the company became a subsidiary of Hawker-Siddley Group; the company announced in 1965. In response to a public outcry, the minority government of Prime Minister Lester B. 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 wean the area economy from its dependence on the coal industry. On July 7, 1967, the Cape Breton Development Corporation, 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. At the same time, the provincial government expropriated DOSCO's steel mill in Sydney, creating the Sydney Steel Corporation, while DEVCO would continue to operate the adjacent coke ovens. By 1992 the Lingan Colliery was closed 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. DEVCO ceased to exist on December 31, 2009, with its remaining assets and staff turned over to Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation, a federal government economic development initiative, in an attempt to diversify the CBRM economy.
On June 19, 2014, the operations of ECBC were transferred to both the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Public Works and Government Services Canada. In 1992, the Task Force on Local Government Report (often called the Hay
Cape Breton University
Cape Breton University known as the "University College of Cape Breton", is a university in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada. Located near Sydney, CBU is the only post-secondary degree-granting institution on Cape Breton Island; the university is enabled by the Cape Breton University Act passed by the Nova Scotia House of Assembly. Prior to this, CBU was enabled by the University College of Cape Breton Act; the University College of Cape Breton's Coat of Arms were registered with the Canadian Heraldic Authority on May 27, 1995. CBU is an ordinary member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the Association of Canadian Community Colleges and Association of Atlantic Universities, as well as an Associate Member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities. CBU traces its roots to 1951 when the St. Francis Xavier University Sydney Campus was opened as a satellite campus of St. Francis Xavier University. Referred to informally as "St. Francis Xavier Junior College" or "Xavier Junior College" and colloquially as "Little X", the St. Francis Xavier University Sydney Campus was situated in Sydney's central business district.
Several buildings were opened as a result of growth during its first decade of operation. While working as librarian at Xavier Junior College, Mother St. Margaret of Scotland recognized that documents of historical significance to Cape Breton Island were being lost. In 1957 Sister Beaton established Cape Bretoniana; the Nova Scotia Eastern Institute of Technology opened in 1968 on Grand Lake Road several kilometres east of the Sydney city limits. This institution focused on business technology and trades and its development was enabled by federal and provincial funding at a time when the coal and steel industries in Industrial Cape Breton were facing serious financial challenges. In the early 1970s, the provincial and federal governments, as well as the local community, recognized the need for developing an institution of higher learning in the economically challenged Industrial Cape Breton region. With assistance from the Cape Breton Development Corporation, St. Francis Xavier University Sydney Campus and NSEIT were merged into the College of Cape Breton in June 1974.
In 1980, the former NSEIT campus on Grand Lake Road was expanded as the institution consolidated at this location. The Government of Nova Scotia granted CCB a charter for granting university degrees in 1982, the institution renamed itself as the University College of Cape Breton. UCCB united diverse education streams such as the liberal arts and sciences with technological and vocational diploma programs. A major expansion for the 1987 Canada Winter Games included the construction of sports facilities built at the campus. During the 1990s about $20 million were spent on several campus expansions that built residences, a Culture and Heritage Centre, academic and research facilities; as a result of a 2004 study the decision was made to rename the institution to reflect its transformation over the previous two decades into a university level institution. This process led to UCCB transferring its trades and technology programs to the Nova Scotia Community College which operated its "Marconi Campus", located next to the CBU Grand Lake Road campus.
On September 23, 2004 the university's Board of Governors voted unanimously to rename the institution Breton University. The name change became official through the University College of Cape Breton Act which received Royal Assent on May 19, 2005. In 2011, CBU's library underwent a $2 million renovation to improve the space and create new seating areas; the Culture and Heritage Centre includes the Great Hall, the Art Gallery, the Folklore Department, the Beaton Institute. The Beaton Institute, housed at CBU, is the second largest public archive in Nova Scotia. Sister Margaret Beaton of Scotland, recognizing that many documents of significance to Cape Breton were being lost to neglect during her career as librarian at Xavier Junior College, began collecting these documents back in 1957. Preceded by Cape Bretoniana, the Beaton Institute operates as a regional archive from and about Cape Breton Island's history, politics, health, people and events; the building is 17,000 square feet and includes a reading room, work room, several offices and specialized rooms.
The collection includes paper records, film, audio materials, maps and microfilms, housing 3,000 manuscript collections, 60,000 images, 2,500 sound recordings, 1,500 video cassettes and film reels, 1,500 reference books, 2,000 maps and plans. Materials in the collection reflect the Mi'kmaq, Acadian, African Nova Scotian, Lithuanian and Italian communities of Cape Breton, along with a collection of Gaelic materials. CBU's library is located adjacent to the Campus Center, along with the main cafeteria, Art Gallery 1, Boardmore Theatre; the library features twelve special collections, apart from the main collection, including a CBU thesis repository, the Bernier LGBT Collection, the Fortress of Louisbourg Collection, the F. A. C. E. Collection which provides access to the publications and contributions of the CBU faculty. There is has a collection of Cape Breton Post and Chronicle Herald publications on microfilm, which can be read on the microfilm readers located on the firs
Cape Breton—Canso is a federal electoral district in Nova Scotia, represented in the House of Commons of Canada since 2004. Its population in 2011 was 75,247, it is the successor to Bras d'Or (later known as Bras d'Or—Cape Breton, represented in the House of Commons from 1997 to 2004. From the 2016 census Languages (mother tongue: Languages: 90.8% English, 6.5% French, 1.2% Mi'kmaq, 0.4% German, 0.2% Dutch, 0.1% Mandarin, 0.1% Arabic, 0.1% Scottish Gaelic, 0.1% TagalogAverage Age: 46.4Average Household Size: 2.3 The district includes eastern Guysborough County, the western and eastern coasts of Cape Breton Island. Communities include Glace Bay, Inverness, Cheticamp, St. Peters, Port Hawkesbury, Guysborough and Canso; the area is 9,438 km2. In 2008, the Liberals won most of their support on Cape Breton Island, whereas the mainland portion of the riding voted Conservative with a few Liberal and NDP pockets The Conservatives and the NDP both won a small handful of polls on the island, the Greens won a poll containing Judique.
The riding of Bras d'Or was created in 1996 from parts of Cape Breton Highlands—Canso and Cape Breton—East Richmond ridings. Bras d'Or was renamed "Bras d'Or—Cape Breton" in 1998, it was abolished in 2003. Most of its territory was incorporated into a new riding called "Cape Breton—Canso", it added a portion of Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough on the mainland; as per the 2012 federal electoral redistribution, this riding will gain 9% of its new territory from Central Nova. List of Canadian federal electoral districts Past Canadian electoral districts " Census Profile". 2011 census. Statistics Canada. 2012. Retrieved 2011-03-03. Riding history for Bras d'Or from the Library of Parliament Riding history for Bras d'Or—Cape Breton from the Library of Parliament Riding history for Cape Breton—Canso from the Library of Parliament
HMCS Cape Breton (K350)
HMCS Cape Breton was a River-class frigate that served the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. She served as a convoy escort in the Battle of the Atlantic during the war, she was named for Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. She was the first to carry her name, HMCS Cape Breton was the second. Cape Breton was ordered in October 1941 as part of the 1942-43 River-class building program, she was laid down 5 May 1942 by Morton Engineering and Dry Dock Company in Quebec City and launched on 24 November that year. Cape Breton was commissioned into the RCN on 25 October 1943 at Quebec City; the River-class frigate was designed by William Reed of Smith's Dock Company of South Bank-on-Tees. Called a "twin-screw corvette", its purpose was to improve on the convoy escort classes in service with the Royal Navy at the time, including the Flower-class corvette; the first orders were placed by the Royal Navy in 1940 and the vessels were named for rivers in the United Kingdom, giving name to the class.
In Canada they were named after cities though they kept the same designation. The name "frigate" was suggested by Vice-Admiral Percy Nelles of the Royal Canadian Navy and was adopted that year. Improvements over the corvette design included improved accommodation, markedly better; the twin engines gave only three more knots of speed but extended the range of the ship to nearly double that of a corvette at 7,200 nautical miles at 12 knots. Among other lessons applied to the design was an armament package better designed to combat U-boats including a twin 4-inch mount forward and 12-pounder aft. 15 Canadian frigates were fitted with a single 4-inch gun forward but with the exception of HMCS Valleyfield, they were all upgraded to the double mount. For underwater targets, the River-class frigate was equipped with a Hedgehog anti-submarine mortar and depth charge rails aft and four side-mounted throwers. River-class frigates were the first Royal Canadian Navy warships to carry the 147B Sword horizontal fan echo sonar transmitter in addition to the irregular ASDIC.
This allowed the ship to maintain contact with targets while firing unless a target was struck. Improved radar and direction-finding equipment improved the RCN's ability to find and track enemy submarines over the previous classes. Canada ordered the construction of 33 frigates in October 1941; the design was too big for the shipyards on the Great Lakes so all the frigates built in Canada were built in dockyards along the west coast or along the St. Lawrence River. In all Canada ordered the construction of 60 frigates including ten for the Royal Navy that transferred two to the United States Navy. After her commissioning, Cape Breton worked up in St. Margaret's Bay before being assigned to Escort Group 9 in 1944 based out of Derry, she operated out of several ports throughout England and in April 1944, sailed to North Russia returning with a convoy. Cape Breton participated in Operation Neptune, the naval part of the Normandy landings in June 1944. Cape Breton returned to Canada late in 1944 where she underwent a major refit at Shelburne, Nova Scotia.
This took until April 1945. She returned to EG 9 upon her reactivation, escorting her final convoy in May 1945 before making her way to Vancouver for a tropicalization refit; the refit, begun on 26 June, was cancelled before completion and Cape Breton was paid off 26 January 1946 and laid up at Esquimalt, British Columbia. She was sold in 1947 to Capital Iron & Metals Ltd. Victoria, British Columbia and her hull was expended as a breakwater at Kelsey Bay, British Columbia in 1948. Arbuckle, J. Graeme. Badges of the Canadian Navy. Halifax, NS: Nimbus Publishing, 1987. ISBN 0-920852-49-1. Macpherson, Ken; the ships of Canada's naval forces 1910-1981: a complete pictorial history of Canadian warships. Toronto, ON: Collins, 1981. ISBN 0-00216-856-1
Cape Breton fiddling
Cape Breton fiddling is a regional violin style which falls within the Celtic music idiom. Cape Breton Island's fiddle music was brought to North America by Scottish immigrants during the Highland Clearances; these Scottish immigrants were from Gaelic-speaking regions in the Scottish Highlands and the Outer Hebrides. Although fiddling has changed since this time in Scotland, it is held that the tradition of Scottish fiddle music has been better preserved in Cape Breton. Dance styles associated with the music are Cape Breton step dancing, Cape Breton square dancing, highland dancing. In 2005, as a tribute to the area's traditional music, the construction of a tourism center and the world's largest fiddle and bow was completed on the waterfront in Sydney, Canada. Cape Breton playing is accented, characterized by driven up-bowing; the tunes of other music origins sound quite different. The strong downbeat pulse is driven by the fiddler's heel into the floor; the pattern tends to be heel-and-toe on the heel on strathspeys.
Cape Breton fiddle music is influenced by the intonations of the Scots-Gaelic language Puirt a Beul and strathspeys. The ornaments are adapted from those used on the Great Highland bagpipe; the ornamentation brings out the strong feeling of Cape Breton fiddle. A century ago the violin and pump organ were the common instruments; the types of tunes associated with Cape Breton fiddling are jigs, marches, strathspeys and slow airs. Many of the tunes associated with Cape Breton fiddle music are commonly performed on other instruments bagpipes and guitar, it is not unheard of for the music to be performed on tin whistle, mandolin or banjo. Modern Cape Breton players draw on a large body of music, from the Scottish and Irish traditions, from modern compositions. Several older books of tune collections have been popular sources: Fraser, Simon Fraser Collection MacDonald, Keith Norman, The Skye Collection MacQuarrie, Gordan F; the Cape Breton Collection O'Neill, Francis, O'Neill's Music Of Ireland Robertson, James Stewart, The Athole Collection Skinner, James Scott, The Scottish Violinist Skinner, James Scott, The Harp and ClaymoreA number of recent publications document a substantial amount of the modern Cape Breton repertoire: Beaton, The Beaton Collection Cameron, John Donald, The Heather Hill Collection Cameron, John Donald, The Trip To Windsor Collection Cranford, The Cape Breton Fiddlers Collection Cranford, Winston Fitzgerald: A Collection of Fiddle Tunes Dunlay and David Greenberg, The Dungreen Collection - Traditional Celtic Violin Music of Cape Breton Holland, Jerry Holland's Collection of Fiddle Tunes Holland, Jerry Holland: The Second Collection MacEachern, Dan Hugh, MacEachern's Collection Ruckert, John Campbell: A Cape Breton Legacy Stubbert, Brenda Stubbert's Collection of Fiddle Tunes Stubbert, Brenda Stubbert: The Second Collection Scottish composers popular in Cape Breton include: Niel Gow, Nathaniel Gow, William Marshall, James Scott Skinner.
Well known Cape Breton composers include: Donald Angus Beaton, Kinnon Beaton, Angus Chisholm, Paul Cranford, Jerry Holland, Dan R. MacDonald, John MacDougall, Dan Hughie MacEachern and Brenda Stubbert. Cape Breton fiddle music has received international recognition through the careers of Ashley MacIsaac, Natalie MacMaster and The Rankin Family. Other performers of the traditional Cape Breton style include Karen Beaton, Rodney MacDonald, Andrea Beaton, Winnie Chafe, Winston Fitzgerald, Kimberley Fraser, Carl MacKenzie, Howie MacDonald, Sandy MacIntyre, Buddy MacMaster, Mairi Rankin. Donald Angus Beaton Kinnon Beaton Angus Chisholm J. P. Cormier Winston "Scotty" Fitzgerald Glenn Graham Jerry Holland Karen Beaton Bill Lamey Dan R. MacDonald Howie MacDonald Rodney MacDonald John Archie MacDonald Sandy MacIntyre Ashley MacIsaac Dave MacIsaac Buddy MacMaster Natalie MacMaster Brenda Stubbert Canadian fiddle The Barra MacNeils Slainte Mhath Violin musical styles—fiddle Music of Nova Scotia Music of Canada's Maritimes Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts Dan R. MacDonald Ashley MacIsaac MacGillivray, The Cape Breton Fiddler, College of Cape Breton Press.
ISBN 0-920336-12-4. Kimberley Fraser's Fiddle Blog Cape Breton Fiddler Kimberley Fraser discusses issues relevant to Cape Breton fiddle music
Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island is an island on the Atlantic coast of North America and part of the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. The 10,311 km2 island accounts for 18.7% of Nova Scotia's total area. Although the island is physically separated from the Nova Scotia peninsula by the Strait of Canso, the 1,385 m long rock-fill Canso Causeway connects it to mainland Nova Scotia; the island is east-northeast of the mainland with its northern and western coasts fronting on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. The eastern and southern coasts front the Atlantic Ocean, its landmass slopes upward from south to north. One of the world's larger salt water lakes, Bras d'Or, dominates the island's centre; the island is divided into four of Nova Scotia's eighteen counties: Cape Breton, Inverness and Victoria. Their total population at the 2016 census numbered 132,010 "Cape Bretoners". Cape Breton Island has experienced a decline in population of 2.9% since the 2011 census. 75% of the island's population is in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality which includes all of Cape Breton County and is referred to as Industrial Cape Breton, given the history of coal mining and steel manufacturing in this area, Nova Scotia's industrial heartland throughout the 20th century.
The island has five reserves of the Mi'kmaq Nation: Eskasoni, Wagmatcook and Potlotek/Chapel Island. Eskasoni is the largest in both land area, its name may derive from Capbreton near Bayonne, or more from Cape and the word Breton, the French demonym for Bretagne, the French historical region. Cape Breton Island's first residents were Archaic maritime natives, ancestors of the Mi'kmaq; these peoples and their progeny inhabited the island for several thousand years and continue to live there to this day. Their traditional lifestyle centred around hunting and fishing because of the unfavourable agricultural conditions of their maritime home; this ocean-centric lifestyle did, make them among the first indigenous peoples to discover European explorers and sailors fishing in the St Lawrence Estuary. John Cabot visited the island in 1497. However, European histories and maps of the period are of too poor quality to be sure whether Cabot first visited Newfoundland or Cape Breton Island; this discovery is commemorated by Cape Breton's Cabot Trail, by the Cabot's Landing Historic Site & Provincial Park, near the village of Dingwall.
The local Mi'kmaq peoples began trading with European fishermen when the fishermen began landing in their territories as early as the 1520s. In about 1521–22, the Portuguese under João Álvares Fagundes established a fishing colony on the island; as many as two hundred settlers lived in a village, the name of, not known, located according to some historians at what is now Ingonish on the island's northeastern peninsula. These fishermen did not maintain a permanent settlement; this Portuguese colony's fate is unknown, but it is mentioned as late as 1570. During the Anglo-French War of 1627 to 1629, under Charles I, the Kirkes took Quebec City; these claims, larger European ideals of native conquest were the first time the island was incorporated as European territory, though it would be several decades that treaties would be signed. These Scottish triumphs, which left Cape Sable as the only major French holding in North America, did not last. Charles I's haste to make peace with France on the terms most beneficial to him meant the new North American gains would be bargained away in the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, which established which European power had claim over the territories, but did not in fact establish that Europeans had any claim to begin with.
The French defeated the Scots at Baleine, established the first European settlements on Île Royale: present day Englishtown and St. Peter's; these settlements lasted only one generation, until Nicolas Denys left in 1659. The island did not have any European settlers for another fifty years before those communities along with Louisbourg were re-established in 1713, after which point European settlement was permanently established on the island. Known as "Île Royale" to the French, the island saw active settlement by France. After the French ceded their claims to Newfoundland and the Acadian mainland to the British by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, the French relocated the population of Plaisance, Newfoundland, to Île Royale and the French garrison was established in the central eastern part at Sainte Anne; as the harbour at Sainte Anne experienced icing problems, it was decided to build a much larger fortification at Louisbourg to improve defences at the entrance to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and to defend France's fishing fleet on the Grand Banks.
The French built the Louisbourg Lighthouse in 1734, the first lighthouse in Canada and one of the first in North America. In addition to Cape Breton Island, the French colony of Île Royale included Île Saint-Jean, today called Prince Edward Island, Les Î
Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway
The Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway is a short line railway operating in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. CBNS operates of main line and associated spurs between Truro in the central part of the province to Point Tupper on Cape Breton Island; the rail lines operated by CBNS were owned by the Canadian National Railway. CBNS began operations in 1994 after the rail lines was purchased in October 1993 by the holding company RailTex; the purchase and operation of this route made CBNS one of the first short line railways to operate a route owned by a Canadian Class I railroad. On February 4, 2000, RailTex and all of its assets, including CBNS, were sold to the holding company RailAmerica. On December 12, 2012, RailAmerica and all of its assets, including CBNS, were sold to the holding company Genesee & Wyoming; the CBNS main line crosses varied scenery in central and eastern Nova Scotia including mixed farmland, river valleys and the Pictou-Antigonish Highlands. The main line skirts various inlets of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and crosses the Strait of Canso to Cape Breton Island using the Canso Causeway.
On Cape Breton Island the main line crosses the North Bras d'Or Uplands before skirting the shores of Bras d'Or Lake along the Boisdale Hills to Sydney. CBNS maintains the same two subdivisions over this line as did its previous owner Canadian National Railway: Hopewell Subdivision running from Truro in the west to Havre Boucher in the east. Spurs at Stellarton to Abercrombie and New Glasgow to Trenton. Sydney Subdivision running from Havre Boucher in the west to Sydney in the east. Spurs at Port Hawkesbury to Point Tupper and Jefferson to Edwardsville; the line interchanges with the Sydney Coal Railway the Devco Railway, at Sydney, with CN at Truro. Yards are maintained at Sydney, North Sydney, Point Tupper, Havre Boucher and Truro; the railroad's business is transporting coal, metal products, paper products, drywall products and limestone. CBNS transported 22,000 car loads in 2008; the section of the Sydney Subdivision from Port Hawkesbury to Sydney has undergone a significant decline in traffic since CN sold the entire route to RailTex in 1993.
The first decline occurred in 1997, when CN stopped routing Terra Transport container traffic bound for Newfoundland via the Marine Atlantic ferry service at North Sydney. From 1978-1997, Terra Transport containers were hauled by rail to the North Sydney railway yard where they would be transferred onto truck chassis and placed on board a ferry destined for Newfoundland; until the abandonment of CN's rail services in Newfoundland in 1988, they would be transferred onto CN's narrow gauge trains at the ferry terminal in Newfoundland and delivered to destinations across that province. Following railway abandonment in 1988, the containers remained on the truck chassis for delivery by truck. A combination of changes to Marine Atlantic's ferry service, coupled with a desire by CN Rail to increase traffic at the Port of Halifax, saw these containers re-routed to Halifax where they were hauled to Newfoundland by the shipping company OceanEx; the second decline occurred in late 2001 when a large steel mill and several coal mines were closed by Sydney Steel Corporation and Cape Breton Development Corporation in the Sydney area.
This change resulted in the loss of thousands of car loads per year and threatened the financial viability of the line. The railway retains several small industrial customers and wholesalers that create a combined 1,500 car loads per year east of Port Hawkesbury. At the same time as this major loss in traffic occurred on the Sydney Subdivision, Via Rail Canada was experimenting with operating a once-weekly return trip seasonal tourist train from Halifax to Sydney called the Bras d'Or; the financial uncertainty of the Sydney Subdivision saw CBNS apply in 2004 to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board for permission to abandon the section east of St. Peters Junction in 2005; this resulted in Via's decision to permanently cancel the Bras d'Or at the end of the 2004 operating season. The section of the line east of St. Peters Junction to Sydney has the highest maintenance requirements per mile on the entire railway as it includes the longest railway bridge in the province, the Grand Narrows Bridge, as well as two large trestles at Ottawa Brook.
CBNS has stated that at least 10,000 car loads per year are required to generate enough revenue to maintain the Sydney Subdivision's tracks and bridges in operating condition. In September 2005, the Government of Nova Scotia announced that it had reached an agreement with the CBNS whereby the government would provide the railway with a $10 million subsidy to keep the rail line from Port Hawkesbury to Sydney open for the next five years, expiring in March 2010. In return, CBNS withdrew its application to the NSUARB for permission to abandon this section of its main line. A one-year extension of this subsidy was approved by the government in September 2010, retroactive to April 2010. On 3 October 2011, it was announced that the government had agreed to continue the subsidy for three more years, allowing RailAmerica access to $2 million over the timespan of the deal. Freight service for this section of the main line is provided by a small twice-weekly freight train that operates as a round trip between Sydney and Port Haw