North Sydney is a community of 5,700 people (2016) on the eastern shore of Cape Breton Island on the north shore of Sydney Harbour. It is mostly a service centre for the ferry traffic to Newfoundland with a number of restaurants and motels.
North Sydney is an important port in Atlantic Canada, serving as the western terminus of the Marine Atlantic ferry service. It acts as the marine link for the Trans-Canada Highway to Newfoundland and is often called "the Gateway to Newfoundland". Marine Atlantic ferries operate from North Sydney's terminal to the ports of Channel-Port aux Basques and Argentia.
North Sydney was settled around 1785 by Europeans and by Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution. It emerged as a major shipbuilding centre in the early 19th century, building many brigs and brigantines for the English market, later moving on to larger barques. Wooden shipbuilding declined in the 1860s, but increasing numbers of steamships began arriving, drawn to North Sydney for bunker coal.
- By car: North Sydney is 24 km from Sydney: southwest on Highway 4, northwest on 126, and east on King St.
- By bus: Transit Cape Breton Route 5 travels from Sydney M-F, 7 times a day (45 min, $5), and 4 times on Saturday. Martime Bus services North Sydney from Halifax.
- By plane: via Halifax. J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport (YQY), a regional airport, is the closest airport but flights to Sydney were suspended indefinitely in Jan 2021.
- North Sydney Historical Museum, 299 Commercial St, ☏ . Apr-Oct daily (closed until June 2019). The museum houses exhibits, photographs, artifacts, original documents and the history of the people and politics that make up North Sydney. The museum also has specific areas devoted to communications, police and fire departments, a Dutch Heritage area and areas displaying the contribution of the town’s citizens to the First and Second World War. It has a 1919 LaFrance Fire Engine. The fire engine was used to fight fires in the town of North Sydney. Free.
- Cape Breton County Farmer's Exhibition, At the top of Regent Street. Held every August by the Cape Breton Federation of Agriculture, it is possibly the largest tourist attraction in the town. The main attraction is the agricultural and cultural displays. The Exhibition also includes a circus midway and horse riding presentations such as barrel racing, skills competitions, draft horse competitions, the oxen pull, and the cattle (beef and dairy).
- Seaview Golf & Country Club, 370 Seaview Drive, ☏ . An 18-hole, par 71 golf course. 6,146 yards, exceptional views. A clubhouse, pro shop, driving range, on-course canteen. Green fees $25-50.
- Indian Beach, 445 Purves Street. A beach for swimming, walking, beachcombing.
The town has a shopping mall on King Street that is anchored by a Wal-mart and a Sobeys store, and has clothing, jewellery, and variety shops. In the same area is a SuperValue Grocery, Shoppers Drug Mart, and a Nova Scotia Liquor Commission store.
There is also shopping along Commercial Street which used to be the main street of the town but has now become an eclectic mix of service providers, food vendors and variety stores.
- Escape Outdoors, 299 Commercial Street, ☏ . M-W 10AM – 6PM, Th F 10AM – 8PM, Sa 10AM - 5PM. A wide range of outdoor gear, clothing and footwear.
- Black Spoon Bistro, 320 Commercial St, ☏ . M-Th 11AM-8PM, F Sa 11AM-9PM. Maritime fresh seafood, a variety of grilled paninis, home-made soups, and pastas.
- The Lobster Pound and Moore, 161 Queen St, ☏ . W-F noon-3PM, 5-8PM; Sa Su 4-8PM. Lobster, of course, but also Asian noodle dishes, ribs, grilled chicken and so on.
- Bette's Kitchen, 138 Queen St, ☏ . Daily 11AM-7PM. Burgers, fries, turkey burgers, fish and chips.
- [dead link] Higher Grounds Cafe and Cellar Bar, 299 Commercial St. Coffee, cocktails, live music, stand-up comedy.
- Hotel North, 39 Forrest St, toll-free: . 101 rooms. Wheel-chair accessible, pet friendly and smoke-free. Restaurant with full breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Bar on site. $109-139.
- Chamber's Guest House Bed and Breakfast, 64 King Street, ☏ , toll-free: . May to mid-Nov. 1880 Victorian home filled with antiques and art-works. Full breakfast included. 3 min from the Newfoundland ferry. $80-100.
- A Boat to Sea, 61 Queen Street, ☏ , toll-free: . Extensive gardens, waterside veranda, pet friendly, Wi-Fi available. Less than 1 km from the Newfoundland ferry. $120-140.
North Sydney is the departure point for ferries to Newfoundland. Marine Atlantic provides daily year-round service to Port aux Basques and seasonal service to Argentia (three days a week from mid-June through September). The Port aux Basques trip takes 6-8 hours, with passenger fees ranging from $18-36 (child/adult) and a normal size passenger car costing $102. Cabins are available for overnight sailings for $108-154. The Argentia trip takes 14-16 hours, with passenger fees ranging from $50-100 and a car costing $209. Cabins are available for $158-200.
Sydney, the largest city in Cape Breton, is 20 km away via Highway 125.
|Routes through North Sydney|
|Antigonish ← Baddeck ← Jct Cabot Trail ←||W E||→ ferry → becomes → Port aux Basques → Corner Brook|
|END ←||N S||→ Sydney → END|