Cape Breton’s community and rugged coastline will charm you

As Canada turns 150, deputy editor Alex Laws looks back on having lived a decade in this country — her 10-year Can-niversary — and reflects on seven spots that have stolen her heart. In this instalment, she’s swept away by Cape Breton’s rugged landscape.


I had never sucked on a crab leg or swung a golf club until I arrived in Cape Breton and I found both to be thoroughly enjoyable. There’s something all-consuming about the natural gems the place possesses that make you want to sign up to experience everything: the rugged landscape, long grasses, commanding cliffs, bright blue skies and teal water. The beauty of the place — combined with abundant fresh seafood — may be the reason everyone seems perpetually calm and pleasant. 

Walking on the spongy grass at award-winning golf course Cabot Cliffs and overlooking the incredible coastline of the deserted beach below, I felt like I was on a private resort in the middle of the Mediterranean. But a visit to Inverness Village Market reminded me I was very much on the east coast: It’s a community centre where local artisans sell their crafts and cups of chowder for a few dollars a pop, where the anecdotes from the elder generation are as spritely as the scenery. 

I took home memories of their cheeky charm as well as a series of stunning photographs from the drive along the hilly Cabot trail — and of sitting on the shady patio of local music institution the Red Shoe for the second most incredible lobster roll of my life. 

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