Sydney, Nova Scotia

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Sydney
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nickname = The Steel City
settlement_type = Community
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imagesize = 200px
image_caption = Downtown Sydney, Nova Scotia

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pushpin_label_position = left
pushpin_map_caption = Location of Sydney in Nova Scotia
pushpin_mapsize = 200
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = CAN
subdivision_type1 = Provinces of Canada
subdivision_name1 = flag|Nova Scotia
subdivision_type2 = Regional Municipality
subdivision_name2 = Cape Breton Regional Municipality
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established_title = Founded
established_date = 1785
established_title2 = Incorporated City
established_date2 = 1904
established_title3 = Dissolved
established_date3 = August 1, 1995
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area_total_km2 = 519.18
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population_as_of = 2001
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From StatsCan
population_note =
population_total = 24,111
population_density_km2 = 46.44
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timezone = AST
utc_offset = -4
timezone_DST = ADT
utc_offset_DST = -3
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_m = Sea level to 56
elevation_ft = 0 to 183.72
postal_code_type =Canadian Postal code
postal_code = B1L - S
area_code = 902
blank_name = Telephone Exchange
blank_info = 270, 304, 371, 536-9 549 560 561 - 7 574, 577, 578, 595
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Sydney (2001 population: 24,115) is an urban community in Nova Scotia, Canada's Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

Sydney was incorporated in 1904 and dissolved on August 1, 1995 when it was merged into the regional municipality. Sydney is the largest urban centre on Cape Breton Island. Together with Sydney Mines, North Sydney, New Waterford and Glace Bay it forms the Industrial Cape Breton region.


It was founded by Col. Joseph Frederick Wallet DesBarres in 1785, and named in honour of Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney (also the Home Secretary in the British cabinet at the time). Lord Sydney appointed Col. DesBarres governor of the new colony of Cape Breton Island. Col. DesBarres landed a group that consisted primarily of poor English citizens and disbanded soldiers. A group of Loyalists from the state of New York, fleeing the aftermath of the American Revolution, were added to the immigrants upon their arrival in the neighbouring colony of Nova Scotia. The site DesBarres chose for the new settlement was along the Southwest Arm of Sydney Harbour, a drowned valley of the Sydney River, which forms part of Spanish Bay. Between 1784-1820, Sydney was the capital of the British colony of Cape Breton Island. The colony was disbanded and merged with neighbouring Nova Scotia as part of the British government's desire to develop the abundant coal fields surrounding Sydney Harbour; the leases being held by the Duke of York. In 1826, the leases were transferred to the General Mining Association and industrial development around Sydney began to take shape.

By the early twentieth century Sydney became home to one of the world's largest steel plants, fed by the numerous coal mines in the area under the ownership of the Dominion Coal Company. Sydney's economy was a significant part of Industrial Cape Breton with its steel plant and harbour and railway connections adjoining the coal mining towns of Glace Bay, New Waterford, Sydney Mines and Reserve Mines. The economic boom brought about by industrialization saw the community incorporate in 1903. By the late 1960s the coal and steel industries had fallen on hard times and were taken over by the federal and provincial governments and both industries were permanently closed by the end of 2001. Forced to diversify its economy, Sydney has examined a variety of economic development possibilities including tourism and culture, light manufacturing and information technology.

Sydney Harbour played an important role during World War II after a Royal Canadian Navy base, warship|HMCS|Protector, was established to stage supply convoys bound for Europe. They tended to be slower convoys and had the prefix SC (for Slow Convoy). Convoy SC-7 typified the dangers inherent with the Nazi U-boats off the coast of Cape Breton and Newfoundland during the Battle of the Atlantic. Sydney's coal shipping and steel manufacturing were essential ingredients in the Allied victory, however federal Minister of Industry, C.D. Howe favoured Central Canada's steel industry given its proximity to a larger workforce and less exposure to coastal attack. The lack of significant war-time investment in Sydney's steel plant led to its decline after the war from which it was unable to recover.


Sydney's elevation is 100 m above sea level. There are two large lakes on Cape Breton Island: Bras d'Or Lake, which connects to the North Atlantic Ocean, and Lake Ainslie. The Trans-Canada highway runs around the perimeter of Bras d'Or Lake.Sydney's climate is Atlantic, which means it is cold and stormy with heavy rain and snow, with a warm summer. The type of vegetation found is Acadian. Some types of trees in Acadian regions are Red Spruce, Balsam Fir, Maple, Red Pine, and White Pine. The forestry is commercial. The type of soil located in Sydney is Podzol, leached soil. Leached soil is too wet, causing the nutrients to be washed out of the soil. There is very little agriculture in Sydney, but there is more on other parts of the island.

Post-industrial adjustment

Sydney suffered an economic decline for several decades in the later part of the 20th century as local coal and steel industries underwent significant changes. The closure of the Sydney Steel Corporation's steel mill and the Cape Breton Development Corporation's coal mines in 2000-2001 have resulted in attempts by the municipal, provincial and federal governments to diversify the area economy.

At the start of the 21st century, Sydney faces a significant challenge in the cleanup of the Sydney Tar Ponds, a tidal estuary contaminated with a variety of coal-based wastes from coke ovens that supplied the steel industry. After extensive public consultation and technical study, a $400 million CAD cleanup plan jointly funded by the federal and provincial governments awaits further environmental assessment.

In one part of the Whitney Pier neighbourhood, residents of Frederick St. discovered contamination within several homes and in surrounding soil, including a toxic orange substance oozing into local basements. Testing of the substance lasted over a year and many were outraged by delays, although some residents were subsequently relocated to a safer residential area nearby.

High unemployment and lack of opportunities have resulted in many educated young people leaving the community for jobs in other parts of Canada and the US. Demographic changes, including an aging population and decrease in the birth rate have begun to affect the area's economic outlook. Specifically, many residents have opted to seek work in Alberta and Ontario.


In recent decades, Cape Breton Island has become home to a significant tourism industry, with Sydney (as the island's largest urban centre) being a prime beneficiary. Until the early 2000s when its economy was tied to the steel industry, Sydney had been overlooked as a tourist destination, with the more centrally-located scenic village of Baddeck being a preferred location for tourists transiting the Cabot Trail, however Sydney has recently witnessed a revival as a result of significant government investment in cruise ship facilities and a waterfront revitalization plan which has seen a boardwalk and marinas constructed, and the world's largest fiddle. This funding is part of the post-industrial adjustment package offered by the federal and provincial governments.

Sydney's tourism draw is increasingly linked to its cultural asset as being the urban heart of Cape Breton Island. Its population is a diverse mixture of nationalities which contributes to various Scottish, Acadian, African Canadian and eastern European cultural events being held throughout the year. Sydney's accommodation sector is centrally located to attractions in Louisbourg (home of the Fortress of Louisbourg), Glace Bay (home of the Glace Bay Miners Museum), Baddeck (home of the Alexander Graham Bell Museum), as well as popular touring destinations such as the Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, and Bras d'Or Lake.


The rock base that Sydney is located on is from the Paleozoic era, and is Carboniferous and Permian. Paleozoic rock is mainly sedimentary rock. Some examples of sedimentary rock are sandstone, limestone, shale, and dolomite. Sydney is in an area of glacial erosion and deposition (hence the sedimentary rock).


Sydney's marine terminal welcomes dozens of cruise ships every year, with the majority visiting in late summer or early fall to take in fall foliage tours. The port is currently underutilized industrially but holds potential as a logistics base for future offshore petroleum and natural gas exploration in the "Laurentian Basin", southeast of Cape Breton Island; an area that has been touted as a potential economic catalyst for Industrial Cape Breton.

The Sydney airport provides a vital transportation link for Sydney and its surrounding areas. Air Canada Jazz operates 5 flights daily [ [ Sydney Airport Authority - Air Canada Jazz] ] , with direct service to both Halifax and Montreal. Other carriers also offer seasonal service.


Sydney is home to two public secondary schools: Sydney Academy, and Holy Angels High School and a third, Riverview Rural High School is located in the suburb of Coxheath. A French language school, Étoile de l'Acadie is also located in Sydney. Cape Breton University and the Nova Scotia Community College's Marconi Campus are located several miles east of Sydney along Trunk 4.


The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the QMJHL play their home games at Centre 200. The franchise, which came into the league in 1969 as the Sorel Eperviers, moved to Sydney from Granby, Quebec in 1997, just one year after winning the Memorial Cup.

From 1988 to 1996 Sydney was home to the Cape Breton Oilers of the AHL, the primary farm team of the NHL's Edmonton Oilers. They won that league's championship, the Calder Cup, in 1993. The franchise moved to Hamilton, Ontario after the 1995-96 season, becoming the Hamilton Bulldogs.

In 1993 and 1994 the Cape Breton Breakers of the NBL also played at Centre 200.

People born or raised in Sydney

*John Buchanan, Premier of Nova Scotia
*David Dingwall, former cabinet minister
*Mayann E. Francis, Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia.
*Scott Oake, Hockey Night in Canada sportscaster
*Danny Gallivan, Hockey Night in Canada sportscaster
*Donald MacDonald, President of the Canadian Labour Congress/MLA for Sydney
*Greg MacPherson, musician
*Calvin Ruck, activist and senator
*Gordie Sampson, singer-songwriter
*D. M. Schurman, imperial and naval historian
*Daniel MacIvor, playwright
*Nick Giacomantonio, Cardiac Rehabilitation Director
*Maynard Morrison, Comedian
*The Tom Fun Orchestra, indie rock band


External links

* [ Sydney local pages]
* [ Sydney- Accommodations & Restaurants]
* [ Sydney Business Directory]

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