Sydney Nova Scotia features that warm, hospitable feel that most all Nova Scotian towns and cities do. Much like Dartmouth and Halifax are sister-cities, so are Sydney and Cape Breton. There's little doubt that Cape Breton draws in the big crowds, yet Sydney Nova Scotia tourism continues to thrive alongside the cape, presenting a vibrant backdrop, rich history, a beautiful setting, and plenty of entertainment for all. It sits on the eastern coast of Cape Breton and has long since been a part of the larger Regional Municipality.
There are many things to do in Sydney related to the area's history. Sydney's past dates back to its inauguration in 1785 by Colonel Joseph Frederick Wallet DesBarres and named for an important member of the British cabinet: Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney. The vast number of coal mines in the area brought Sydney to the forefront as one of the biggest steel plants worldwide operating mostly under Dominion Coal Company. The combination of the busy harbor, the newly fixed railways, and steel production boosted the economy rapidly throughout Cape Breton. The harbor at Sydney played a role in WWII as a stager of convoys heading to Europe. With little to no investment in the steel plants during the war, and a general decline in the coal and steel industry, Sydney's economy began to collapse and recovery was not a reality. Over the last few decades, Sydney Nova Scotia tourism has been on the rise, largely because of cape Breton's popularity as tourist hub. The many things to do in Sydney attract thousands of annual visitors who no longer view the city solely as an industrial front.
Sydney Nova Scotia is the largest urban center on Cape Breton and remains a solid choice for vacations in the area. There is so much to do and see in and around Sydney that planning is a good idea. There are numerous beaches, both in the city and nearby, perfect for lounging by the shore and enjoying beachside activities. Diving is another popular pastime and there are two diving companies in town that handle tours. Seven area golf courses are preened and maintained in the warmer months, from about mid-April to October. Two Rivers Wildlife Park offers a look at native animals and offers a wildlife trail, wagon rides, a petting barn, and excellent hiking trails. There are generally a few annual special events, like music festivals, that happen on the grounds. Winter months bring opportunities for ice fishing, sleigh riding, and skiing.
Sydney Nova Scotia tourism also revolves around history. There are three area museum offering a closer look at the city's development since the late eighteenth century. Cossit House and Jost House are two eighteenth-century homes that each played a significant role in the community. C.B. Centre for Heritage & Science and St. Patrick's Museum are more museums to explore for more historical details. Music is another component that's always on the forefront of Sydney Nova Scotia tourism. Celtic music is a fierce contender on the music scene and has deep roots that stem back into Sydney's past. Cape Breton Island is a hub for concerts and special music events that in turn offer a look at the area's distinct culture.
Anyone making the trip to Sydney Nova Scotia should continue on another 30 minutes to Fort Louisbourg in the National Historic Park. Fort Louisburg is a replica of a 250-year-old settlement encompassing lively taverns, lovely homes, historic inns, and manicured gardens. Within the vicinity of Sydney, there are countless major attractions, and within the city itself, there are many activities and exciting pursuits to experience. The common denominator between all areas on the east coast is the unique ocean scenery, the friendly smiles, and the change of pace that truly demonstrates why Canada's eastern edge is almost another world entirely.
Image: Nova Scotia Tourism, Culture and Heritage