Port Morien, Nova Scotia Canada

Discover Port Morien, Nova Scotia: A Historical Fishing Community

Port Morien, also known as "Morien," is a quaint fishing community nestled in the southeastern Cape Breton Island of Nova Scotia, Canada. With a population of 700, this small community is located near the rural community of Donkin and just six miles from the town of Glace Bay.

The Naming of Port Morien, Nova Scotia

The community was first recorded as "Baie de Mordienne" on a map in 1580. In the nineteenth century, settlers renamed it Cow Bay, inspired by a cow that allegedly escaped from a vessel traveling from Sydney to Louisbourg and was found in the area. In 1895, the community was officially named Port Morien.

The Rich History of Port Morien, Nova Scotia

Port Morien's history dates back to the early 18th century when French and Scottish immigrants first settled in the area. The town quickly grew into a bustling fishing and mining community with a thriving economy. Despite facing economic challenges in the late 20th century due to the decline of fishing and mining industries, Port Morien has remained resilient, diversifying its economy and attracting new businesses and residents.

Coal Mining in Port Morien, Nova Scotia

The presence of coal in Cape Breton was first noted by Intendant Jean Talon in 1671. However, it was the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 and the subsequent founding of Louisbourg that brought French attention to Cape Breton coal as a valuable resource. The first commercial coal mine in North America began production at Port Morien in 1720. By 1724, coal from Port Morien was being traded to Boston, marking the first officially recorded export of minerals in Canada. The mine, known as the Gowrie Mines, changed ownership between the English and French four times, with the English ultimately gaining control in the late eighteenth century. In 1725, the French built a blockhouse to protect the valuable coal reserves.

Fishing in Port Morien, Nova Scotia

Alongside mining, the fishing industry also flourished in Port Morien. Over time, the village has become dependent on lobster fishing as its main resource. In 2000, the lobster fleet consisted of 47 boats. A fish-processing plant has been operating at the harbour continuously by one family since 1941, and a boatbuilding business also contributes to the local economy.

Community Organizations and Clubs in Port Morien, Nova Scotia

Port Morien boasts a vibrant community life with many active organizations and clubs. These include a Royal Canadian Legion branch, a development association, a volunteer fire department, Girl Guides of Canada, a camera club, a community fair committee, a women's institute, an acting group, a wildlife association, a youth sports league, and a walking club. The community is also home to three churches: St John's United Church, St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, and St. Paul's Anglican Church. Notably, Port Morien was the site of the first Boy Scout troop in North America, founded in 1908.

Attractions in Port Morien, Nova Scotia

The Marconi Wireless Station National Historic Site of Canada, a significant landmark in the history of communication, is located near Port Morien.

Recognition for Port Morien, Nova Scotia

In 2008, Port Morien was honored with the Lieutenant Governor's Community Spirit Award, a testament to the community's resilience, spirit, and commitment to growth and development.