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Eastern Zone

Photo of the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton
Port Hawkesbury
St. Peter’s

Failte (that’s “welcome”, for those not up to speed on their Gaelic)! Nova Scotia’s Eastern Zone is the centre of Atlantic Canada’s rich Gaelic culture. Kitchen parties are a way of life here, and you’re never far from the Highlands that inspired the region’s first immigrants to name the province New Scotland. Here, the view of a lifetime lives around every corner, and the friendliest people live in every community. Hike, cycle, swim, golf—all in an almost unreal beauty.

This part of the province is home to two regional hospitals, located in Antigonish and Sydney, 11 community hospitals, and one Collaborative Emergency Centre serving towns nestled between the mountains and the sea. Sydney’s Cape Breton Regional Hospital is the second largest acute care facility in Nova Scotia, and St. Martha’s Regional Hospital, in Antigonish, was founded in 1906 by the Sisters of St. Martha’s congregation, and provides a wide range of healthcare services.

Separated by a causeway from the mainland of Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island is often named one of the top island destinations in the world. Sydney is its biggest city, home to Cape Breton University and a charming urban main street. Outside of the city, it’s all about high-definition beauty and the great outdoors, including stunning hikes, beaches, and skiing at Ski Cape Smokey. The Cape Breton Highlands National Park is home base for nearly every outdoor adventure you could conjure up, where deep river canyons are carved into the forested landscape, and steep cliffs offer breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s also home to the world-famous Cabot Trail, a rollercoaster ride of a drive (or bike) that hugs the edge of the sea for nearly 300 km. 

On the mainland, the Gaelic culture, seaside villages, and warm communities continue to welcome you home. In the bustling town of Antigonish—the “Highland Heart of Nova Scotia”—students study at one of Canada’s most prestigious universities, St. Francis Xavier University, and where citizen leaders learn to address global challenges at the Coady International Institute. And Guysborough County (just across the straight from Cape Breton) is definitively Nova Scotian in flavour, where the rugged beauty of land and sea surround you. Life here is defined by quaint fishing villages, safe harbours, and friendly people. 

If the lively energy of authentic Gaelic culture and the warmth of down-to-earth seaside villages sounds like heaven to you, then the eastern zone of Nova Scotia may have just the community for you and your family to call home.

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