Sydney, Nova Scotia
For other uses, see Sydney (disambiguation).
|Municipality||Cape Breton Regional Municipality|
|Dissolved||1 August 1995|
|Named for||Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney|
|Total||29.43 km (11.36 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||66 m (217 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|Density||1,000/km (2,600/sq mi)|
|Metro density||718.50/km (1,860.9/sq mi)|
|"Metro" population based on a 43 km or 17 sq mi sample that is larger than the old boundaries for the former City of Sydney, pre-1995.|
|Time zone||UTC−04:00 (AST)|
|Summer (DST)||UTC−03:00 (ADT)|
|Canadian Postal code||B1L – S|
|Area code(s)||902 & 782|
|Telephone Exchange||202, 217, 270, 284, 304, 317, 322, 371, 408, 509, 537, 539, 549 560–5, 567, 574, 577, 578, 595, 979|
Sydney was founded in 1785 by the British, was incorporated as a city in 1904, and dissolved on 1 August 1995, when it was amalgamated into the regional municipality.
Sydney served as the Cape Breton Island colony's capital, until 1820, when the colony merged with Nova Scotia and the capital moved to Halifax.
A rapid population expansion occurred just after the turn of the 20th century, when Sydney was home to one of North America's main steel mills.
During both the First and Second World Wars, it was a major staging area for England-bound convoys.
The post-war period witnessed a major decline in the number of people employed at the Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation steel mill, and the Nova Scotia and Canadian governments had to nationalize it in 1967 to save the region's biggest employer, forming the new crown corporation called the Sydney Steel Corporation.
The city's population has steadily decreased since the early 1970s due to the plant's fortunes, and SYSCO was finally closed in 2001.
Today, the main industries are in customer support call centres and tourism.
Early history 1700s to 1899
Prior to a permanent settlement being established, there was significant activity along the shore.
During the American Revolution, on 1 November 1776, John Paul Jones – the father of the American Navy – set sail in command of Alfred to free hundreds of American prisoners working in the coal mines in eastern Cape Breton.
Although winter conditions prevented the freeing of the prisoners, the mission did result in the capture of the Mellish, a vessel carrying a vital supply of winter clothing intended for John Burgoyne's troops in Canada.
A few years into the war (1781) there was a naval engagement between two French ships and a British convoy off Sydney, Nova Scotia, near Spanish River, Cape Breton.
The British convoy escorts suffered considerable damage with one ship, Jack captured.
The French ships also suffered damage.
In the end the convoy was still able to load coal and transport it to Halifax.
Six French sailors were killed and 17 British, with many more wounded.
Sydney was founded after the war by Colonel Joseph Frederick Wallet DesBarres, and named in honour of Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney, who was serving as the Home Secretary in the British cabinet.
Lord Sydney appointed Col. DesBarres lieutenant-governor of the new colony of Cape Breton Island.
In November 1784 the 600-ton ship Blenheim landed a group that consisted primarily of English citizens and disbanded soldiers.
A group of Loyalists from the state of New York (which included David Mathews, the former mayor of New York City under the British), fleeing the aftermath of the American Revolution, were added to the immigrants upon their arrival in the neighbouring colony of Nova Scotia.
DesBarres arrived at Sydney on 7 January 1785.
He held the first meeting of his executive council on 21 February 1785, where he was proclaimed lieutenant-governor in a formal manner and the first minutes of the new colony were taken.
Between 1784 and 1820, Sydney was the capital of the British colony of Cape Breton Island.
The colony was disbanded and merged with neighbouring Nova Scotia as part of the British government's desire to develop the abundant coal fields surrounding Sydney Harbour; the leases being held by the Duke of York.
In 1826, the leases were transferred to the General Mining Association and industrial development around Sydney began to take shape.
Sydney was incorporated as a town in 1885.
Steel city 1900–1945
By the early 20th century Sydney became home to one of the world's largest steel plants, fed by the numerous coal mines in the area under the ownership of the Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation.
Sydney's economy was a significant part of Industrial Cape Breton with its steel plant and harbour and railway connections adjoining the coal mining towns of Glace Bay, New Waterford, Sydney Mines and Reserve Mines.
The economic boom brought about by industrialization saw the community incorporate as a city in 1904.
The growth continued until the 1930s, with the Great Depression causing a slow down in production and growth.
World War Two brought prosperity again for the plant, and the coal mines.
These convoys tended to be slower and had the prefix SC for Slow Convoy.
Convoy SC 7 typified the dangers inherent with the Nazi U-boats off the coast of Cape Breton and Newfoundland during the Battle of the Atlantic, when 20 of the 35 merchant cargo vessels were sunk on their journey to England.
Sydney Harbour was one of the hotspots of the Battle of the St. Lawrence.
Two notable shipping attacks occurred during this battle: the sinking of the train ferry SS Caribou in October 1942 on its way from North Sydney to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland; and the sinking of the Sydney-based HMCS Shawinigan on 24 November 1944 in the Cabot Strait, near Cape North, on Cape Breton Island.
Sydney's coal shipping and steel manufacturing made a significant contribution to the Allied war effort, however federal Minister of Industry, C. favoured Central Canada's steel industry given its proximity to a larger workforce and less exposure to coastal attack. D. Howe
Post-war years 1950–2014
By the late 1960s the coal and steel industries had fallen on hard times.
Friday, 13 October 1967, became known as "Black Friday," so named after Hawker Siddeley Canada, the plant's owners, announced they were closing it in April 1968.
Both the provincial and federal government were involved in negotiating with the steel plant's owners, when Cape Breton's citizens held the largest protest in the city's history on 19 November 1967: "The Parade of Concern."
Around 20,000 people marched about a mile from the plant's gates to a horse racetrack to show their support for the steel plant.
Newly appointed Nova Scotia premier G.I. and federal Health Minister, and Cape Breton MP, SmithAllan J. MacEachen spoke to the crowd and assured them that their respective governments were going to help.
Four days later the Smith government announced that they were taking over the plant starting in 1968.
Both the steel and coal industries continued under government ownership for the rest of the 20th century.
By the early 1990s, both industries were in trouble again, and were permanently closed by the end of 2001.
Forced to diversify its economy after the closures of the steel plant and coal industries, Sydney has examined a variety of economic development possibilities including tourism and culture, light manufacturing and information technology.
Cleaning up the former steel plant, and the toxic Sydney Tar Ponds it left behind in Muggah's Creek, were a source of controversy due to its health effects on residents, although it has provided some employment since SYSCO closed.
The tar pond cleanup was completed in 2013 with the opening of Open Hearth Park, which sits on the direct site of the former steel plant and has hosted events such as an Aerosmith concert in September 2014.
Statistics Canada classifies Sydney as a medium population centre, which for census purposes includes the neighbouring communities of Westmount, a significant portion of Sydney River, and other portions of the former Cape Breton County.
The 2011 population of the Sydney census area, was 31,597, making it the largest population centre on Cape Breton Island.
CJCB was the first television station in Nova Scotia, going on air on 9 October 1954.
It was also the eastern terminus of the original country-wide microwave network that went live on 1 July 1958, with the Canada's first coast to coast television broadcast.
From its beginnings until 1972, CJCB-TV was the area's CBC affiliate.
Sydney's first radio station was CJCB-AM, founded by Nate Nathanson, and went on the air on 14 February 1929.
The Nathanson family would go on to open an FM radio station in 1957, CJCB-FM, and the above-mentioned television station.
CBC began operating its own station, CBI-AM, in November 1948.
In 1962, the CBC combined the two networks, making CBI the only CBC station, and CJCB became an independent.
In 1978, the CBC opened CBI-FM, which belonged to the CBC Stereo network.
Besides the CBC and CJCB stations, there are other FM radio stations serving the area, most coming into the market in the early 21st century.
Sydney is part of the Cape Breton – Victoria Regional School Board and is home to one public English language secondary school: Sydney Academy, which is linked to several elementary and intermediate schools.
Holy Angels, a female-only Catholic high school founded in the late 1800s, closed at the end of the 2011 school year.
A French language school, Étoile de l'Acadie, is also located in Sydney and is part of the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial school board.
In 1951, the original campus of what became Cape Breton University was founded as the Xavier Junior College, affiliated with St. and was located in Sydney. Francis Xavier University
Sydney also has other post secondary and private career colleges, including the Cape Breton Business College founded in 1958 and the Canadian Coast Guard College founded in 1965.
The annual Celtic Colours International Festival is held throughout Cape Breton Island in October, with some of the concerts taking place in Sydney.
Sydney was selected to host the 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2016 ECMA Galas.
Semi-professional hockey has a long tradition in Sydney.
In December 1912, a group formed a professional hockey club to challenge for the Stanley Cup.
The short-lived Sydney Millionaires, who received that nickname because the players were the highest paid in the Maritimes, won the 1913 Maritime Professional Hockey League championship.
Their victory allowed them to challenge the Quebec Bulldogs, the then current cup holder, in Quebec City.
On 10 March 1913, the Millionaires lost the second and final game of the Stanley Cup, and folded shortly thereafter.
They won that league's championship, the Calder Cup, in 1993.
Eagles alumni include three-time Stanley Cup champion Marc-André Fleury.
Tennis has a long history in Sydney.
The Cape Breton Junior Regionals, Masters Championships, and the Cape Breton Open tennis tournaments are held annually.
- Sir John George Bourinot, journalist, historian, and 3rd Clerk of the House of Commons (Canada)
- Paul Boutilier, retired National Hockey League (NHL) hockey player, Stanley Cup Champion
- John Buchanan, former Premier of Nova Scotia
- George Cleveland, actor in the original U.S. television series Lassie
- Nathan Cohen, theatre critic, CBC Radio & TV host and personality
- Naomi Colford, Canadian Model, Miss World Canada 2019, first Nova Scotian to win the title Miss World Canada
- Harold Connolly, 15th Premier of Nova Scotia
- David Dingwall, former federal cabinet minister
- Norm Ferguson, retired NHL hockey player, member of Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame
- Mayann Francis, former Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia
- Danny Gallivan, former Hockey Night in Canada sportscaster, member of Canadian Sports Hall of Fame
- Gordie Gosse, MLA for Cape Breton Nova, Speaker of the House of Assembly
- Danny Graham, former MLA and leader of Nova Scotia Liberal Party
- John Jr. Hanna, retired NHL hockey player
- Ursula Johnson, multidisciplinary Mi’kmaq artist, now based in Halifax, Nova Scotia
- Fabian Joseph, former Captain of the Canada men's national ice hockey team, two-time Olympic silver medallist
- Neil Libbey, historian
- Bette MacDonald, actress, singer, comedian
- Donald MacDonald, former President of the Canadian Labour Congress/MLA for Sydney
- Finlay MacDonald, senator; founding director, CTV; Canada Games chair
- Frankie MacDonald, amateur weather presenter and YouTube personality
- Parker MacDonald, former NHL player and coach
- Daniel MacIvor, playwright
- A.A. MacLeod, political organizer, pacifist, M.P.P., and uncle of Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine
- Al MacNeil, retired NHL player and head coach, Stanley Cup Champion
- Greg MacPherson, musician
- Arthur B. McDonald, physicist, jointly awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics with Japanese physicist Takaaki Kajita
- Kevin Morrison, retired NHL hockey player
- Maynard Morrison, comedian
- Scott Oake, Hockey Night in Canada sportscaster
- Isaac Phills, Order of Canada recipient.
- Lisa Raitt (née MacCormack), Conservative MP, federal cabinet minister
- Rick Ravanello, actor
- Calvin Ruck, former activist and senator
- Gordie Sampson, Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter
- Todd Sampson, CEO of advertising agency Leo Burnett Australia, Earth Hour co-creator, and TV presenter.
- D. M. Schurman, former imperial and naval historian
- Irving Schwartz, former businessman, philanthropist, Officer of the Order of Canada
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney, Nova Scotia.