Cape Breton Fascinates Me

In the late 1800's to the mid 1900's the steel and coal companies were a huge economic force in the towns in and around Sydney, Cape Breton. Towns like New Waterford, Dominion, Donkin, Sydney Mines, and Glace Bay (featured in this post) had entire neighbourhoods constructed by these industrial companies to house their workers.

Here's an excerpt from Heritage Canada about their significance:

The company houses (prominent in Canadian cinema and literature) evoke the colourful - and occasionally painful - stories of Cape Breton’s social history, labour-movement roots, and tight-knit, multicultural neighbourhoods where cooperatives and credit unions were pioneered. When someone from Glace Bay says, “I’m from Number 2” or “I’m from The Hub,” they are referring to particular districts of company houses close to coal mines.

By the 1940s, most of the company houses had been sold to miners and steelworkers. Those that survive are small (between 700 and 1,000 square feet), Gothic Revival-style duplexes, and some singles. There is one remaining intact long-row in Sydney Mines that dates from the 1840s. The unpretentious dwellings are reminders of the tenacity and hard work of their residents.

These photos were taken in 2012. My wife Shawnee thought I might get a kick out of these neighbourhoods and so we drove around Glace Bay. I just snapped photos from the car as we slowly drove by. I'm sure it wasn't creepy at all ^_^ 

If you know of any other towns with company houses in Nova Scotia leave a comment below!! I love getting leads for stories on the the blog.

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