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Authority record
Corporate body

Abbass Studios Ltd.

  • Abbass
  • Corporate body
  • 1946-Present

The Abbass family emigrated from Lebanon to Cape Breton at the turn of the 20th century. With his wife, Lilly Khattar, Jobe Abbass built a home on Townsend Street in Sydney, N.S. and together raised twelve children. It is in this building that three of those children, George, John and Anthony started Abbass Studios in the summer of 1946.

While still in high school at Sydney Academy, George took a job as an apprentice at Meyer’s Photography, a national chain. In 1941, after graduating from high school, his brother John also secured a job with Meyers where they both learned the craft of photography. Eventually they began private work contracting jobs with the Post Record and Chronicle Herald newspapers. In January of 1943 four of the Abbass boys, George, John, Joe and Ferris, enlisted to serve during World War II. They left their younger brother Anthony (Tony), who was too young to enlist, in charge of their Post and Herald contracts. When the brothers returned from war, they received a stipend from the government to open their own business.

Abbass Studios opened its doors July 18, 1946 in the family home on Townsend Street in Sydney, N.S. . The studio offered photo finishing, portraits and commercial photography. By the mid-1960s Abbass Studio served all of the Maritime Provinces. The company built a photo finishing plant in Moncton, New Brunswick and purchased stores in New Castle, New Brunswick. The brothers eventually brought the Econo-Color Camera Stores and Studios franchise from Sherman Hines.

Abbass Studios captured and continues to document the diverse economic, political and cultural heritage of the area. The business is still in family hands and run by John’s sons Blaise and John. The Townsend Street building was demolished in 2014 and Blaise Abbass now operates Abbass Studios, Sydney from his home. John Abbass runs the store at Scotia Square Mall in Halifax.

Beaton Institute

  • Corporate body
  • 1957-

The Beaton Institute, and its predecessor Cape Bretoniana, has served as the regional archives for Cape Breton Island for the past 59 years. The Beaton Institute collects and preserves the social, economic, political and cultural history of the Island and through this mandate supports and fosters research related to Cape Breton – its people, its industry, its history, and its rich cultural heritage.

Fifty years ago, prior to digital technology, the information landscape was quite different; however, it was not without its challenges. Mother St. Margaret of Scotland (Sister Margaret Beaton), in her role as Librarian at Xavier Junior College, recognized that many documents of historical and literary significance to Cape Breton Island were being lost due to neglect and the lack of an appropriate repository. In a pro-active response to this challenge Sr. Beaton began collecting Cape Breton related documents and artifacts with the objective of preserving materials of historic significance for future scholars.

It all began in 1957 with the acquisition of the first manuscript – The Minutes of the First Agricultural Meeting in Cape Breton. Today, the Beaton Institute is recognized in the archival community as having a rich regional collection.

This collecting, in the beginning, was sporadic and unplanned – more serendipitous in nature, but fruitful all the same. By 1966, Sister Margaret turned her attention to building Cape Bretoniana and the College of Cape Breton Archives on a full-time basis. Cape Bretoniana grew substantially during these years with several appeals to the local community for donations of archival material. As a result there was the on-going need for additional space for the archives, first housed within the library then in the MacDonald Arts Building on George Street in Sydney, followed by a move to the MacLeod Building on Nepean Street in 1967 and then to the Logue Building at George and Pitt Streets in 1970.

In 1975, Cape Bretoniana was expanded to include two main divisions: the Archives and Institute Library, and the division of Ethnic Studies, Folklore and the Social and Cultural History of Cape Breton Island. In the same year the Archives was struck a blow with the sudden death of Sr. Beaton as a result of a car accident. The direction of the Archives was taken on by Dr. Malcolm MacLellan as an interim measure until the appointment of Dr. Robert Morgan as the permanent director and archivist. The Archives was renamed, the Beaton Institute, in honour of its foundress and as a pledge that the work of this outstanding woman would continue.

In 1979, the Institute, along with the rest of the Sydney Campus, moved to its new location on the Grand Lake Road. The Institute was located in the Information and Communications Centre near the Library and Art Gallery. The expanded quarters and improved facilities were the culmination of many years of planning and made the Institute one of Canada’s important regional archives.

Today the Beaton Institute is housed in a 17,000 square foot complex within the Student, Culture and Heritage Centre at Cape Breton University. The modern facility houses a reading room, the vault, several specialized collections rooms, offices and work room. The foundation of the Beaton Institute is its collection. The manuscript collection is particularly strong in the industrial, labour, and political history of Cape Breton. The audio visual holdings include an oral history collection, a wealth of material relating to Cape Breton social life, songs and ballads. The Celtic Music Collection includes hundreds of recordings of Cape Breton’s best fiddlers and pianists playing tunes, which are in many cases, one of a kind. The photographic holdings include over 60,000 images dating from the mid-nineteenth century and dealing with every phase of life on the Island.

Perhaps the most outstanding feature of the Archives is its special collections of ethno cultural materials. The collection reflects the many cultural groups present in Cape Breton including the Mi’kmaq, African Nova Scotian, Jewish, Acadian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Polish and Italian communities. A great source of pride is the quality of Gaelic material including original manuscripts, tapes, a small reference library and a complete file of the Gaelic newspaper MacTalla, published for many years in Cape Breton.

It is through this collection that the Beaton Institute serves those who quest for knowledge – the student, the teacher, the filmmaker, the author, the genealogist, the community. The collection offers researchers a window through which to understand, compare, analyze and educate today by understanding and knowing our past. The goal of the archives is to collect and make available historically significant records in a manner that conveys the processes and contexts through which the record was created. The Beaton Institute has endeavored to preserve and make available those materials that have enduring value to our society. Today the Beaton Institute’s staff of five receives and responds to over 4000 enquiries a year from around the world.

Boardmore Theatre

  • Corporate body
  • 1966-

Founded in 1966, the Boardmore Theatre presents an annual season of plays, including plays for young audiences, four to five full length plays, a bi-annual Shakespeare production and a bi-annual Broadway Musical, and a one week one act play festival with an emphasis on new play development. The Boardmore Playhouse is home to the Theatre and a 337 seat venue which is the centre for the performing arts at Cape Breton University. Throughout the school year and summer months the CBU Boardmore Playhouse is also involved with a number of community projects. The Playhouse provides practical expertise to community theatre groups in the form of workshops for young people as well as advise and leadership in summer theatre programs. It is named for its founders - Liz and Harry Boardmore - who nurtured a love and excellence for community theatre in Cape Breton.

British Empire Steel and Coal Company (BESCO)

  • Corporate body
  • 1920-1928

The British Empire Steel and Coal Company was incorporated in 1920 for the purpose of acquiring the Dominion Steel Corporation and its constituent companies, the Dominion Coal Company and the Dominion Iron and Steel Company. It continued to function until 1928 when it was taken over by the Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation.

Canadian Federation of Business & Professional Women's Club

  • Corporate body
  • 1930 to present

BPW Canada was founded in 1930, at the same time as the International Federation. The International Federation, which has Consultative 1 Status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council, now includes clubs in more than 95 countries around the world. Membership in a local club includes membership in the provincial, national and international Federations.

Canadian Federation of Women. Cape Breton Branch

  • Corporate body
  • 1919-present

The Canadian Federation of Women, a voluntary, non-profit, self-funded bilingual organization of over 100,000 women university graduate, was founded in 1919. CFW members are involved in public affairs, working to raise the social, economic and legal status of women, as well as to improve education, the environment, peace, justice and human rights.

Cape Breton Chorale

  • Corporate body
  • 1973 - present

The Cape Breton Chorale was founded in 1973 by Sister Rita Clare, C.N.D. . With a complement of approximately 50 voices, the mixed adult group has played an important role in the cultural life of Cape Breton, performing at a variety of venues large and small both locally and abroad.

The Chorale represented Canada at the International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales in 1993. Four years later, in 1997, the Cape Breton Chorale forged links with a number of communities in Scotland, bringing the music of "New Scotland" to appreciative audiences in various cathedrals and castles from Edinburgh to the Isle of Iona. Again in July 2004, the Chorale ventured overseas for a musical tour of the Republic of Ireland. Canadian radio and television audiences have been able to enjoy the music of the Cape Breton Chorale through a number of appearances on various programs, including the CBC Choral Competitions where the Chorale competed as Atlantic finalist.

The Chorale has shared the stage with musical stars like Celine Dion and Rita MacNeil, and has performed before numerous visiting dignitaries, including Queen Elizabeth II. The group have hosted and sung with visiting choirs from Canada and Europe, participated in workshops with distinguished Canadian choral conductors, and has joined with other Nova Scotia choirs to perform major works.

The Cape Breton Chorale has released five recordings, "Christmas with the Cape Breton Chorale" (1990), "Songs of Atlantic Canada" (1991), "Remembering the Forties" (1995), "Songs of Land and Sea" (1997) and "Rejoice and Sing!" Christmas with the Cape Breton Chorale (2006). Two of its selections were chosen for the compilation "A Noteworthy Christmas: Great Canadian Choirs Sing Holiday Favorites" and the Chorale is included in "Song for the Mira", a compilation of the works of Allister MacGillivray, as well as recordings from Celtic Colours performances.

The Cape Breton Chorale is currently under the direction of Rosemary McGhee.

Cape Breton Ski Club

  • Corporate body
  • 1940-present

The Sydney Ski Club was founded in 1940 by a group of interested skiers at Sydney, Nova Scotia, with Gordon Naish as its first president. In the late 1940s the group discovered a new ski area at Barrachois, which lead the group to change its name to the Cape Breton Ski Club. In 1969 the Club acquired property at Ben Eoin, and move its operations there. The Club remains in operation.

Castle Players of Society

  • Corporate body
  • 1985-2007

The Castle Players Society was formed in January 1986 to promote and organize a theatrical retelling of some of the legends relating to Moxham’s Castle and the Moxham Family. The University College of Cape Breton, Cape Breton Development Corporation, and the Federal Youth Employment provided the seed funding with the hope that this would be an annual seasonal production for local and vacationing public.

Catholic Mutual Benefit Association

  • Corporate body
  • 1891 - 1933

The C.M.B.A. was organized at Niagara Falls, NY, July 3, 1876, with a membership of 25. The Grand Council of C.M.B.A. of Canada was organized at Windsor, Ontario, on February 10, 1880.

Centre Bras d'Or

  • Cape Breton
  • Corporate body
  • 1985-1993

Centre Bras d'Or Association was formed to develop in Cape Breton an environment in which artists, craftspeople, performers, critics, scholars and others could exchange all aspects of their work with one another, with the community at large and with visitors so as to reveal and enhance the natural strengths and the diversity of environment landscape, cultural heritage and creativity for the Island to the cultural and economic benefit of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Centre Bras d'Or was inspired by the example of the Banff Centre which brings artists of various disciplines together in a physically beautiful setting. Initially, they set out to seize public attention by mounting an ambitious summer festival of the Arts: 14 days of music, literary readings, weaving, exhibits, dance & theater. The first Festival attracted 4200 people. The vigor and vision of the founding group has brought the Centre a remarkable range of support ranging from Gov't of Canada (Canada Council), Dept. of Employment & Communications, DEVCO, Gov't of Nova Scotia (Dept. of Culture & Development) as well as major national firms and local organizations.

Crawley Films

  • Corporate body
  • 1939-1982

Crawley Films was founded in 1939 by Frank "Budge" Crawley and Judith Crawley. Throughout the years following the company's inception, Crawley Films went through a period of growth, in which by the conclusion of World War Two, the company had vastly increased the number of affiliated employees. Crawley Films operated as an organization which created both sponsored films and films designed to provide entertainment. In 1975, the Crawley Films' production, "The Man Who Skied Down Everest" became the first Canadian Production to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. 1982 saw the sale of the company to that of Atkinson Film Arts.

CTR Video Productions

  • Corporate body

CTR Video productions operated out of Isle Madame and Louisdale, Richmond County, Nova Scotia. Antonio D'Amore and Donna D'Amour both founded and operated the company.

CTV Atlantic

  • Corporate body
  • 1972-

CTV Atlantic consists of four television stations in the Maritimes, owned and operated by the CTV Television Network, a division of Bell Media.

Gaelic Society of Cape Breton

  • Corporate body
  • 1969-present

Comunn Gàidhlig Cheap Breatuinn, or the Gaelic Society of Cape Breton, was founded at Sydney, Nova Scotia to foster and promote the use of the Gaelic language at home and abroad and to cultivate the language, poetry and music of the Scottish Highlands.

Louisbourg Scottish Society

  • Corporate body
  • 1918-?

The Louisbourg Scottish Society was organized on 14 February 1918 and initially formed because a large number of residents in the town of Louisbourg were of Scottish descent. Their purpose: to encourage a spirit of friendship and good-fellowship among the Scottish residents of the town; to enable them to meet socially and get better acquainted with each other and with their traditions and achievements; and to encourage local talent in the study and exposition of their national music, literature, and history.

Morrison's General Store

  • Corporate body
  • 1881-1996

Morrison’s General Store in St. Peter’s, Richmond County, Cape Breton was founded by Alexander Allan (A.A.) Morrison in 1881. Originally established in a rented location on Main Street in St. Peter’s, A.A. Morrison later purchased a building across the street, where the store remained until its closure in 1996. A general merchandise store, Morrison’s offered a wide variety of goods to the people of St. Peter’s, which were purchased in bulk from several different wholesalers and delivered by way of train or boat. In 1925, A.A. bought out the neighbouring general store D.Y. Stewart & Sons, and combined the two units into a single operation.

During the 1920s, 1930s, and 1950s, Morrison’s periodically operated a branch store in Stirling, Richmond County, where the Mindamar Mine was located. In 1953 the company was incorporated, and became known as Morrison’s Stores Ltd. Following A.A.’s retirement circa 1940, the store was run by his son William D. Morrison, who served as President, and later by his grandchildren Catherine (Kay) MacDonald and Alex Morrison. The store regularly employed between 12-14 members of staff, many of whom served as employees for several decades. The store later became Morrison’s Home Hardware. After 115 years of operation, Morrison's was faced with many financial challenges enhanced by the appearance of larger retailers in the Port Hawkesbury area, and Morrison’s closed its doors in 1996. Morrison’s was a staple of the local landscape in St. Peter’s, and is fondly remembered by residents and former employees. Morrison’s store was demolished in 2002.

In addition to its role as a retail store, it is possible that Morrison’s General Store operated as a Canadian federal Department of Indian Affairs depot, under Superintendent Angus J. Boyd. Papers rescued from Morrison’s Home Hardware in 2001 indicate a retail relationship between the Department of Indian Affairs and the Store. More research is required to establish the historical relationship between the Department, Boyd and Morrison’s Stores Ltd.

North Sydney Historical Society

  • Corporate body
  • 1980 -

The North Sydney Historical Society was founded in 1980 and incorporated in 1983 by the Town of North Sydney. It was formed to preserve the history of the town by opening a museum that celebrates the town’s heritage and to educate the town’s citizens about North Sydney’s past. After it was incorporated, the society opened a room in the old town hall, containing various artefacts, historical documents and photos associated with the town’s history. After the society was incorporated, residents of the town began donating artefacts, historical documents, photographs, maps and plans associated with people, businesses, organizations, events in the town’s history and notable town landmarks so they could be put on display or preserved in the society’s artifact and archive room in North Sydney’s Town Hall. The society also collected material, including the records of the former Town of North Sydney after it amalgamated with surrounding communities to form the Cape Breton Regional Municipality in 1995. After amalgamation, the historical society moved their collection to the lower level of 299 Commercial Street. On May 27, 1996, the society opened the North Sydney Heritage Museum, which contained various displays that described various aspects of the town’s rich history. Overtime, because of an aging membership and not enough staff or volunteers to run the museum on a regular basis, the society decided that they would build a community centre that would contain an interpretive-style museum, the town’s public library and other community spaces and offices. The North Sydney Historical Society opened the North Sydney Cultural and Heritage Centre in June 2011.

Nova Scotia Information Service

  • Corporate body
  • 1972-

Until 1972, Nova Scotia government information services were delivered by a variety of successive departments. Legislation in 1972 established the Nova Scotia Communications and Information Centre. In 1981 the centre became a division of the Department of Government Services. In November 1987, Nova Scotia Information Service again became a separate agency, with a mandate to facilitate the flow of communication between government and the public and to promote Nova Scotia nationally and internationally. In 1992, Nova Scotia Information Service became a division of the Department of Supply and Services.

Owen Fitzgerald Studio

  • Corporate body

After attending Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto, Owen Fitzgerald moved back to Cape Breton in 1977 to start his own photography business, Owen Fitzgerald Photography Ltd. and and its successor Fitzgerald Digital Ltd. (Digital Outrider) which were in operation for almost three decades. In addition to the creation of thousands of images, the two companies published books, CD-ROMs, and e-Learning modules. Fitzgerald's photographs have been published by local news outlets as well as national and international publications such as MacLeans and TIME.

Photogelatine Engraving Co. Ltd.

  • Corporate body
  • 18-Jun-1920 - 1954

The founder of Photogelatine Engraving Company, Ltd. was Rowley Shillito Hooper (1887-1951), who was born in Dudley, England. He arrived in Canada in 1915 to fill the position of factory superintendent for Rolla L. Crain Company, Ltd., a large Ottawa printing firm. In 1917 he left Rolla L. Crain and established his own printing business. PECO was was incorporated in Ottawa on June 18, 1920. Hooper passed on June 16, 1951 and was replaced in 1952 by Robert D. Church as president and general manager. The company closed in 1954.

Raytel Photography

  • Corporate body

Raytel Photography was owned and operated by Raymond Doucette.

Robin, Jones, and Whitman Ltd.

  • RJW
  • Corporate body
  • 1765-2006

Robin, Jones and Whitman Ltd., originally known as The Robin, Pipon Company,was established in 1765 at Arichat, Nova Scotia by John Robin of Jersey, England. With his brother Charles, John obtained the grant for the southwest half of Cheticamp Island, then secured the rest of the island shortly after establishing a second trading post there in 1767, known as La Pointe. It was here that the truck system of credit came into use in Cape Breton, as the Robins gave some fishermen goods on credit which would be paid off the next year in fish.

Manpower was one of the major issues that the Robins encountered as they worked to establish their trading posts, and so they made steps to increase the permanent population of the area. By 1774, the business was being handled by two separate companies; the Robin, Pipon Company was operating out of Gaspe while Robin and Company was operating out of Cape Breton. The three Robin brothers, John, Charles, and Philip, each had equal shares in the two firms and they were very prosperous.

The American War of Independence in 1776, however, would almost bankrupt the company. The Gut of Canso was raided by the notorious American naval officer, John Paul Jones, and the Robins had a great deal of capital invested in their ships which were not armed and thus easily captured by Jones. The loss of the ships' cargoes was equally unfortunate, especially because, due to the fact that attacks happened on land and not sea, only one third of the loss was covered by insurance.

Jones had not touched any of the Robin buildings or shallops at Arichat, however, and the company resumed its operations again in 1777, sending out new ships with the guaranteed protection of the Royal Navy. The Robins had suffered great loss but were able to maintain their establishments in North America due to their investment in one of the most successful privateering ships of the war, the Sprightly, which captured a prize worth 35,000 pounds.

In the 1780s, Robin and Company was renamed the Philip Robin Company (PRC) with Philip, John, Charles and an outside investor, John Fiott, each holding one-quarter shares in the company. The day to day operations of the company were put in the hands of an agent on Cape Breton Island.

During the 1870s, the small fishing and trading establishments at Arichat and Cheticamp merged with the Charles Robin Company in Gaspé. By 1877 they reported having 15 posts in three provinces exporting a combined 90 000 to 100 000 quintals of fish every year. In addition, the company owned 14 sea-going vessels, and directly employed over 200 men. At that time, Charles Robin Company was directed by Raulin Robin (Naples) who owned 63% of the company. In January 1886, however, the Jersey Banking Company failed and the Robin family was forced into liquidation. As a result, the Robins ceased honouring their credit obligations in Gaspé, causing great distress among the fishing population dependent upon them. The crisis was resolved when three Jersey men agreed to take over the firm and meet all of its debts and obligations. On March, 1886 the Robin family terminated its involvement with the company founded over 120 years earlier.

The Company, then under the management of Elias Collas, became limited as Charles Robin Collas and Company. The new proprietors carried on the business as before. In 1910, however, Collas and his partners sold out of Nova Scotian interests and the firm underwent another name change, becoming Robin, Jones, and Whitman Ltd. with headquarters in Halifax. In 1984 the Robin Company still existed but no longer dealt in fish, operating instead as a chain of general stores with headquarters at Paspebiac, Quebec. The company closed its doors for the last time in 2006 due to financial strains.

Rodeo Records

  • Corporate body
  • 1949-2010

Rodeo Records was founded in 1949 in Montreal by George Taylor and Don Johnson mainly as a small country & western and bluegrass label and the regional distributor of Quality Records product in Quebec and the Maritimes. The following year, Johnson moved to California and Taylor bought his half becoming the sole proprietor. For seven years they issued only 78 rpm recordings.

In 1953 Taylor moved to Halifax and established the low-budget sister label called Banff. In 1956 the companies started issuing their first LPs. Seeing another niche market, he purchased the already popular Celtic label in 1960 (with a catalogue of fiddling and Scottish music dating back to 1933). By this point the company had accumulated a sufficient number of releases that they negotiated their first distribution agreement with London Records of Canada. Several years later they signed a similar agreement with Compo Canada.

Seeking a national presence and a more professional recording scene, Taylor moved Rodeo back to Montreal in 1962. He started another new label – Caprice – solely for Francophone acts, and started feeling out the pop/rock scene by singing acts such as The Keatniks, the Colonials (featuring future Mamas & Papas Denny Doherty), the Gemtones, the Stringers, and the Rockatones. He also struck an agreement with Stereo Sound Studios in Montreal to record all of his acts with the new multitrack technology. This emphasis on quality and professional domestic distribution gave rise to international interest by the mid-60s, and Rodeo acquired distributors in the U.K. (Symphola Records) and the U.S. (Canadian Trading Co. of Boston).

Yet another affiliated label – Melbourne Records - was launched in 1963 originally to expose Canadian audiences to Australian artists. Only three acts were released - Dorothy Baker, Kevin Shagog, and The Seekers (pre-“Georgie Girl” fame) before Taylor’s arrangement with the Australian label stalled. From 1965 on, Melbourne then became home to “serious” music (R. Murray Schafer, Antonin Kubalek, Orford String Quartet, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir) and even experimental electronic music.

In 1967 Taylor moved Rodeo Records Ltd. headquarters to Toronto, leaving the Montreal office still open and very active in charge of Dougal Trineer. Mel Shaw (manager of the Stampeders and owner of his own label MWC Records) was appointed director of all popular music with Rodeo in the spring of 1969. Rodeo started to attract talent of national repute – Don Messer (with Marg Osburne and Charlie Chamberlain), The Rhythm Pals, Stu Phillips, Graham Townsend, Hal Lone Pine (radio star and Lenny Breau’s father), Hank Smith, and the Seibert Brothers.

By the 1970s the Rodeo family had diversified even more and were open to all kinds of talent – from comedy (Bobby Gregory’s Country Comedy) to language instruction (Scottish Gaelic For Beginners), from radio broadcasts (Saga of the Reluctant Piper) to spoken word (John Drainie Reads Stephen Leacock or The True and Authentic Life of Giant Angus MacAskill), from ballroom dancing (Armando’s Continental Orchestra) to tap music (Tap Dance to Waldo Munro), from jazz (Frank Traynor and the Jazz Preachers) to folk (Canadiana Folk Singers, Les Chanteurs d’Acadie, Jim Murray), sacred (Kidd Baker – Walking in the Mountains with My Lord, Phillips Bros. – Church in the Wildwood, Sacred Songs by the Choir of Gower Street United Church, The Singing Parson & Sharon) to novelty (Elfie the Elf – “Let’s Give Santa Claus a Christmas”) and bird song (Songs of the Seasons or Birds of the African Rain Forest).

Taylor made one last move to Peterborough in 1969. For the next decade – while continuing to put out new product – he also re-released much of the Rodeo catalogue as audiocassettes and 8 track tapes. As well he assembled numerous compilation albums (24 Cape Breton Fiddle Medleys, 24 Great Gospel Songs, 24 Country & Western Hits) and “Best of …” albums. Taylor retired in 1984, and the company and assets were purchased by Frank Swain in 1985. Under his corporate name Holborne Distributing, Swain continued to market selected titles. Swain donated the Rodeo Records collection to the Beaton Institute in 2010.

Scottish Catholic Society

  • Corporate body
  • 1919-

The Scottish Catholic Society of Canada, Diocese of Antigonish, was founded by Rev. Donald M. MacAdam at Iona in 1919. Its purpose was to preserve the Catholic faith among those of Scottish heritage, to propagate the history of Scotland, and to preserve the Gaelic language and Scottish traditions.

Shedden Studio

  • Corporate body
  • 1916-1977

Shedden Studio was founded by David Thompson Shedden in 1916. Mr. Shedden continued to work part-time as a meat cutter until the business gained traction within the local community. In 1930 the eldest of David Shedden's children, Stanley, began working as a photographer for the Studio. He was responsible for taking the photograph of aviator Beryl Markham's plane crash in Baleine, Nova Scotia in 1936. This photograph ran in the New York Times and this negative along with a selection of others are still held by the Shedden family in a private collection. Tragically, Stanley succumbed to illness at the young age of 26. Prior to serving overseas during WWII, David’s other son Leslie, trained as a photographer. When he returned in 1945, he started working with his father at the studio and took over operations when David died in 1948.

Just before Stanley began working with his father, a fire in 1929 destroyed all earlier negatives of the commercial studio. Although there is speculation that Sheddon Studio was contracted by local coal company British Empire and Steel Corportation (BESCO), the negatives no longer exist. This loss was further compounded with the destruction of more negatives before the sale of the company to Cyril McDonald in 1977.
The remaining negatives document the commercial activity of the studio from 1948 to the mid-1970s. The collection consists of portraiture, wedding, anniversary, school groups and graduation photography. Religious ceremonies and social events located mainly in Glace Bay and surrounding areas are also included. A separate grouping of negatives documenting industrial contracts with the Dominion Steel and Coal Company (DOSCO) from 1948-1968 also survived.
McDonald continued to provide reproduction prints on request until 2006. At this time, he decided to donate the first grouping of Shedden negatives to the Beaton Institute at Cape Breton University. McDonald donated the remaining Shedden Studio negatives to the archive in January, 2016 and no longer provides photography services.

St. Rita's Hospital

  • Corporate body
  • 1955-1995

The St. Rita's Nursing School was established in 1924 and operated until 1933. It was re-established in 1955 at the 162-bed location opened in 1955 at the corner of Kings Road and Churchill Drive, overlooking Sydney harbour.

Sydney Millionaires

  • Corporate body

The Sydney Millionaires challenged the Quebec Bulldogs for the Stanley Cup for the first and only time in 1913, under the leadership of Captain Alfred "Cap" McDonald. In 1922, the team name was resurrected under a new senior team, which would go on to play for two Allan Cup national titles. In 1949, the name was also used for a junior team, which started up in 1949.

Sydney Trades and Labour Council

  • Corporate body
  • 1908-1923

The Sydney Trades and Labour Council (TLC) was founded in 1908 as a chapter of the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada. The organization acted as a forum for discussion and action on issues relating to union politics, wages and working hours; its local chapter membership included iron, steel and tin workers, carpenters, plumbers, mechanics and tailors. The Council's first president was J.R. Martin, M.J. Kelly acted as vice-president and P.M. Draper was the first secretary-treasurer. The Sydney Trades and Labour Council was disbanded by 1923.

The Caledonian Society of Canada

  • Corporate body
  • 1848 -1975

The Caledonian Society of Cape Breton was established in Sydney in 1848. Immigrant Gaels followed a trend earlier established in places like New York and Ontario where other Caledonian or Scottish societies had previously been formed and flourished. Major C.I.N. MacLeod was president of the Society in the 1950s. It has also been named the Sydney Celtic Club and the Cape Breton Highland Society.

The Gaelic College

  • Corporate body
  • 1938-

"The Gaelic College was founded in St. Ann’s, Nova Scotia, in 1938, by people from the local community who wanted to create a memorial for the Gaelic speaking pioneers of Cape Breton. Efforts were spearheaded by Angus William Rugg MacKenzie, the minister at the Knox Presbyterian Church in nearby Baddeck. That year, the Cape Breton Island Gaelic Foundation began the work of raising funds to establish the Gaelic College. A committee toured the United States and Canada, raising money through $5 subscriptions. The first building at the site on the Bay of St. Ann’s was a log cabin raised in 1939. Classes in the early years included Gaelic language, Gaelic grammar, Gaelic song, bagpiping, the history of the Gaelic in Scotland, in Nova Scotia and in the rest of North America, as well as social economics. Classes in weaving, folklore and highland dancing were soon added. From its humble beginnings, this unique institution has expanded and gained an international reputation for its contribution to the maintenance and preservation of the language and culture."

The Great Cape Breton Flag Contest

  • Cape Breton
  • Corporate body
  • 1993

At a conference held in Prince Edward Island entitled "An Island Living" where the exchange of many "Island" experiences took place, it was discussed that Cape Breton had no political autonomy and the only Island not to have its own flag. Finding this a challenge, the editors of the Cape Bretoner magazine joined forces with ATV Cape Breton, CJCB/K94, City Printers and the Lyceum Heritage Society to launch a "Great Cape Breton Flag" contest on Heritage Day, February 15. The contest turned out to be an overwhelming success with over 2,000 entries submitted. These have been compiled in binders along with the winning entry by Kelly Gooding of Sydney Mines.

The North Sydney Bartown Festival Society

  • Corporate body

In 1975, North Sydney celebrated Bar 90, a week-long summer festival to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the town’s incorporation. Organized by the community-led Bar 90 Executive Committee, the festival was founded as a lead up to the town’s 100th anniversary celebrations in 1985 (Sampson and Currie, 65, 1985). The festival included different events and competitions that were held in the town, such as talent shows, a beauty contest, parades, barbeques, dances, concerts, races and other public events (Sampson and Currie, 65, 1985). After 1975, the number of years after the 90th anniversary of the town was added to the name of the town’s festival (For example, in 1980, the festival was named Bar 90+5). After the town’s centennial celebration, the festival was renamed Bar 90 Days. In 1995, North Sydney almost lost the annual festival after North Sydney was amalgamated into the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. With the help of local volunteers, the festival was saved. In 1996, it was re-named The North Sydney Bartown Festival. The festival continues to be held each year (Bartown Community Society, 2010). Prior to the Bartown Festival, North Sydney hosted an annual week-long festival named Old Home Week.

Town of Glace Bay

  • Corporate body
  • 1901-1995

The French are credited as the initial inhabitants of the area of Glace Bay with the discovery of “mountains of coal” along the coast of the area they called Baie de Glace by Nicholas Denys, governor of Île Royale (Cape Breton), in 1672. They would begin settlements in the early 1720s, the area of New Aberdeen being the earliest reference to a European settlement in Glace Bay. The area became used for coal mining, which was to be sent back to Louisbourg to maintain the fortress. After the British took control of the area in 1748, the mines began to rapidly develop, which saw the growth of Glace Bay as a community and a town. The development of Glace Bay had always been directly related to the progress of the coal industry. Consolidation of coal operations under a single company in the later years of the nineteenth century saw new citizens from other parts of Canada and overseas pouring in. Immigrants from Poland, Greece, Russia, the Caribbean, England, Scotland, and Ireland all found homes in Glace Bay. In 1901, Glace Bay became the first town in the British Empire to obtain a charter under the reign of King Edward VII. Little Glace Bay, the village of Caledonia, Dominion no. 2, 3, and 4 collieries (including the old Hub and Sterling Mines) came together to form the new town of “Glace Bay” under legislative action on January 18th that same year. After 1901, an elected council was appointed for Glace Bay. This council would make the majority of municipal decisions and begin the initiatives for road, sewage, water system, education, and medical development. Originally consisting of eight councillors, the town was later divided into six wards with two councillors each, increasing the number of councillors to twelve. Glace Bay would continue on as a distinct autonomous town for 94 years. In 1995, the government of Nova Scotia sought to reduce the number of independent towns, thus, Glace Bay became incorporated with several other towns within Cape Breton Island to form the new Cape Breton Regional Municipality under the Cape Breton Regional Municipality Act.

Western Union Housing Plan Committee - North Sydney

  • Corporate body

In 1876, the Western Union Cable Office owned and operated a rooming house in North Sydney for single employees. It was sold by the company sometime before 1888 and eventually became the Albert Hotel. (Gillis, 12, 2005). Years later, in order to fulfill the need for affordable housing, The Western Union Housing Plan Committee was organized by employees of the Western Union Telegraph Company in North Sydney, Nova Scotia in cooperation with the company. The Plan gave employees the right to apply for loans from Western Union so they could purchase homes. The committee, which was led by a Treasurer/Secretary accepted loan applications from employees and worked with the secretary and treasurer at Western Union’s headquarters to determine if they qualified for the plan.

The committee was also responsible for holding regular meetings to discuss new housing plans and to submit monthly reports to Western Union’s General Auditor about their loan accounts and the status of employee loans and insurance, and also to advise other Western Union Housing Plan committees at company sites in St. Pierre Et Miquelon and Hearts Content, NF. They also worked with Canadian Aladdin Company, a housing design firm that sold pre-fabricated homes to employees. The properties purchased by employees would belong to Western Union until the employee paid off their loan. If employees were still taking a loan from the company and they were transferred, they could either stay in the program and would be given a property in their new location or opt out of the program and lose their housing benefits. The program was intended for employees below the manager level that worked a certain number of years. The committee began in 1919 and existed until at least 1934.

Western Union Telegraph and Cable Company North Sydney

  • Corporate body
  • 1875 - 1962

The Western Union Cable Station at North Sydney began operation in August 1875 following the completion of underwater cable installation between Heart's Content, Newfoundland and Lloyd's Cove (Sydney Mines). The original station was located on Commercial Street in North Sydney and moved to Court Street in 1914 to accommodate a growing staff.

At the height of operations during the First World War, the office processed an average of 30,000 messages daily with a staff of over three hundred. Automation during the late 1920s resulted in a staff reduction and eventually the office was closed in 1962 after significant advances in satellite communications. The building was demolished August 15, 2016.

Xavier Junior College

  • Corporate body
  • 1951 - 1974

Xavier Junior College was founded in 1951 in Sydney Nova Scotia as a satellite campus of St. Francis Xavier University. Xavier Junior College was the first post-secondary educational institution on the Island of Cape Breton. It offered the freshman and sophomore years of many traditional university courses. The college was located in downtown Sydney, and throughout the years of its existence, it expanded to many different buildings in the downtown area. In 1960 the official name of Xavier Junior College was changed to Xavier College, this name would last until 1972 when the college would be renamed again to the St. Francis Xavier University Sydney Campus. In June of 1974, the college would amalgamate with the Nova Scotia Eastern Institute of Technology to form a new institution that offered traditional university courses but also offered new innovated courses for the modern world. This new institution was called the College of Cape Breton.