Chéticamp is a village of 4,000 people on the coast of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. Its blend of natural beauty and Acadian culture makes it an interesting place to spend some time in and it also serves as the western entrance to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. A large majority of its residents are Acadians and speak French natively. Together with its smaller neighbour, Saint-Joseph-du-Moine, Chéticamp makes up the largest Francophone enclave on Cape Breton Island.
Chéticamp is at the western entrance to Cape Breton Highlands National Park which contains the Acadian Trail. The downtown area overlooks a harbour that is protected from the Gulf of Saint Lawrence by Chéticamp Island. The Cheticamp River flows into the Gulf of St. Lawrence approximately 5 km northeast of the village.
Apart from an important gypsum mine which operated off and on until the Second World War, the main industry in Chéticamp historically has been fishing. As fish quotas have declined, tourism has taken on more importance and is the largest industry at this time. Chéticamp has also marketed its traditional rug hookers ("tapis hookers"), Acadian music and food.
The name "Chéticamp" is derived from the name given by the Mi'kmaq First Nations (Aboriginal) people, who still live on Cape Breton Island (but not in Chéticamp). The name is Awjátúj in the Mi'kmaq language, meaning "rarely full", presumably making reference to the mouth of Chéticamp harbour that once had a large dune that grew during low tide.
Chéticamp was a fishing station used during the summer months by Charles Robin, a merchant from the island of Jersey, and is considered one of the Acadian capitals of the world. In the years following the Great Expulsion, many Acadians came to this area.
- Gaby's Taxi, +1 902 224-5078.
- Joe's Scarecrows, Cabot Trail. Scary gallery of scarecrows with halloween masks. Entrance is free, but they ask for a small donation.
- Les Trois Pignons, 15584 Cabot Trail, ☏ . Mid-May to mid-October: 8:30AM-5PM (6:30PM in July and August) or by appointment. A genealogy resource centre and library, and a collection of hooked rugs and antiquities. 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. The gallery showcases some of the finest works by local craftspeople and hooked rugs, both traditional and contemporary.
- Mi-Carême Centre, 51 Old Cabot Trail Road, Grand Étang (behind the LeMoine Co-op Store of Grand Étang), ☏ . Jun to Sep: daily 10AM-5PM; Sep to mid-Oct: M-F 10AM-5PM. It promotes the rich tradition of the Mi-Carême fête that has been celebrated in the local Acadian area for centuries. The Interpretive Centre, on the Grand Étang Harbour, features displays, gives an historical overview and offers a variety of monthly events. Visitors learn about this mid-Lent celebration, featuring masks, music and dance, through interactive exhibits. Wheelchair accessible. Adult (17 to 64) $5, senior (65 and over) $4, student $4, child (5 and under) free, family (2 adults, 2–3 children) $12.
Activities for visitors include whale watching, hiking, swimming, cross country skiing, golfing, snowmobiling, cultural events and festivals and photography. They also host an International Dance Festival, and La fête nationale de l'Acadie (August 15).
- St. Peter's Beach. A place for swimming, camping, and other recreational activities.
- Le Portage golf course. Considered part of "Cape Breton's Fabulous Foursome" and is renowned for the beautiful views and challenging course.
- Floras, Cabot Trail, Point Cross (about 10 minutes south of Chéticamp), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Sells a variety of handcrafts, especially traditional locally-made Acadian hooked rugs. Also does demonstrations.
- Le Gabriel, 15424 Cabot Trail, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Serves a variety of traditional Acadian dishes with an emphasis on fish. Steaks available. Mains $14-43.
- Harbour Restaurant, 15299 Cabot Trail, ☏ . Daily 11AM-8PM. A fine restaurant with lobster, other seafood, and alternatives such as burgers and wraps. Very fresh and tasty.
- Frog Pond Cafe, 15856 Cabot Trail, ☏ . Jun-Oct: daily 9AM-5:30PM. Organic Fairtrade coffee, various organic teas, cold drinks, homemade cookies, biscotti, and baklava. Browse the Sunset Art Gallery on the same grounds or sit and relax on our outdoor sheltered patio and listen to the frogs in the pond.
- Restaurant Evangeline, Main St, ☏ . Daily 6:30AM-9PM. Varied menu including pizza.
- Chéticamp Outfitters Inn B & B, 13938 Cabot Trail, Point Cross (about 10 minutes south of Chéticamp), ☏ . Check-out: 11AM. On a hilltop with nice views and friendly hosts.
- Merry's Motel, 15356 Cabot Trail, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Basic, but clean and comfortable rooms in the middle of Chéticamp. Rooms have satellite TV and some have a fridge. $50-90; cheaper off-season rates available.
- Plage Saint-Pierre Beach and Campground, 635 Cheticamp Island Road, ☏ . A mix of wooded and open serviced sites for motorhomes, trailers and tents (144 sites). A long stretch of open ocean beach frontage. Canteen with ice and other supplies, payphones, recreation and games room, movies, playground, tennis court, mini-golf, pure well-water, a laundromat, laundry tubs, washrooms, showers, changing rooms, picnic tables and fire pits.
- Acadian Motel, 15202 Cabot Trail, ☏ , toll-free: . 14 units offer 2 double beds and one family unit is available with 3 double beds. All rooms offer 4 piece bathroom, Wi-Fi, cable TV, radio, fridge and microwave with each unit equipped with air conditioning, electric heat and dedicated parking space. All units are pet-free and non-smoking. Children under 12 stay free of charge. Free coffee is available.
The Cabot Trail runs north of town through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, with plenty of scenic vistas and hiking opportunities.