Discover Inverness, Nova Scotia: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty
Inverness, a rural community in Inverness County, Nova Scotia, is a captivating blend of history and natural beauty. Known in Scottish Gaelic as Baile Inbhir Nis, this Canadian gem is nestled on the west coast of Cape Breton Island, fronting the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It's conveniently located about an hour's drive north from the Canso Causeway and an hour south from Cape Breton Highlands National Park. As of 2021, Inverness is home to 1,228 residents, a slight decrease from its 2016 population.
The Rich History of Inverness, Nova Scotia
The Coal-Mining Era in Inverness, Nova Scotia
Inverness's history is deeply rooted in coal-mining. The community sits astride a small coal seam, which was exploited from the late 19th century to the mid-late 20th century. The coal operations began with a mine opened by William Penn Hussey of Massachusetts. Before Hussey's arrival, locals exploited the coal, but without the means to export it, the coal was never mined in earnest.
Hussey secured financial backing from European investors and dredged a portion of the sand dunes to connect MacIsaac's Pond to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. He built piers, wharves, and a small railway, enabling him to ship coal to export markets. Despite initial profitability, Hussey's infrastructure fell into disrepair after a decade, leading him to sell off his interests.
The town then entered the era of William Mackenzie and Donald Mann in the 1890s. These two, after whom local streets are named, lobbied the Government to fund a railway project from Port Hawkesbury to Inverness. This led to the opening of several more mines in and near Inverness during the early 20th century. These shaft mines extended from the area between the town and the beach, even reaching under the ocean in some cases. This boom led the town's population to soar to over 3,000 by 1922. Many of the mines closed following World War II, with the last one closing in 2001.
Harness Racing in Inverness, Nova Scotia
Inverness, Nova Scotia, is also known for its harness racing tradition. Established in 1926, the Inverness Raceway hosts harness races twice weekly between May and October.
Golfing in Inverness, Nova Scotia
Inverness is a golfer's paradise. The town is home to Canada's only true links golf course, Cabot Links. Opened in 2011 on a site formerly occupied by coalmine shafts, Cabot Links overlooks the beaches and harbour. As of January 2018, it was ranked 43rd in the world by Golf Digest.
A newer course, Cabot Cliffs, is located north of the community. It offers spectacular cliff views and is ranked 9th in the world. Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or a golf enthusiast, Inverness, Nova Scotia, has something to offer everyone.