Stewardship and management

St. Peters Canal National Historic Site

As a vital historic waterway, St. Peters Canal links Canada’s diverse cultural landscape to the story of bourgeoning trade and development in Cape Breton.

The narrow isthmus separating Bras d’Or Lake from the Atlantic was once used by the Mi’kmaq who portaged their canoes throughout the Maritime area.

French fur trader Nicolas Denys acquired Saint-Pierre, a 17th century fortified trading post, in order to trade with Mi’kmaq communities. He established a "haul-over road" across the isthmus so oxen could pull ships from one shore to another.

Later, a French settlement with military presence was built and Fort Toulouse became the site of Anglo-French rivalries (1713-1758).

Work on the canal started in 1854 and was completed in 1869. It took 15 years to blast through the 20-metre (66 foot) high, solid granite hill to build the shipping channel. Today, you can enjoy interpretive exhibits and sail, cruise or paddle the canal.

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