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Four Cape Breton landmarks up to become registered municipal heritage properties

This circa-1900 photograph shows the Grand Narrows waterfront. The Grand Narrows Hotel is in the centre of the photograph and the old railroad bridge is shown crossing the Barra Strait. - Beaton Institute Archives
This circa-1900 photograph shows the Grand Narrows waterfront. The Grand Narrows Hotel is in the centre of the photograph and the old railroad bridge is shown crossing the Barra Strait. - Beaton Institute Archives
SYDNEY, N.S. —

Four Cape Breton properties each guaranteed to stir the memories of longtime residents are in the process of becoming registered municipal heritage properties.

Cape Breton Regional Municipality senior planner Karen Neville earlier this week provided an overview of each property to the municipality’s six-member heritage advisory committee that is chaired by Coun. Eldon MacDonald.

Municipal council will now move the process forward at a future meeting.

The CBRM has been formally recognizing municipal heritage properties since 2004 as part of an initiative to promote the conservation of the area’s rich culture and heritage.

Bernie’s Bakery, Whitney Pier

Bernie's Bakery operated in Sydney's Whitney Pier neighbourhood for some 60 years. The Koskoszka family-owned business was known for its pizza, bread and cinnamon buns. The building that once housed the popular bakery is being considered for status as a CBRM municipal heritage property. CONTRIBUTED
Bernie's Bakery operated in Sydney's Whitney Pier neighbourhood for some 60 years. The Koskoszka family-owned business was known for its pizza, bread and cinnamon buns. The building that once housed the popular bakery is being considered for status as a CBRM municipal heritage property. CONTRIBUTED

 

For those in the know, the mere mention of Bernie’s Bakery conjures up tasty memories of delicious pizza, bread and cinnamon buns. The Meadow Street fixture was operated for some 60 years by Bernie and Mary Kokoszka. Bernie, who apprenticed as a baker’s helper under the tutelage of Felix Depenta, built the now-closed bakery in 1954. It housed an 18th century-style brick hearth oven. In 1984, the bakery’s bread was blessed by Pope John Paul in the traditional Slavic offering of bread and salt.

The building that housed the once-popular bakery remains standing today.

Saint Joseph’s Catholic Parish Church, Albert Bridge

St. Joseph's Catholic Parish Church, Trout Brook Road, Albert Bridge. CONTRIBUTED
St. Joseph's Catholic Parish Church, Trout Brook Road, Albert Bridge. CONTRIBUTED

 

This landmark rural church was built in 1877 on a hill overlooking the Mira River. Accessed by Trout Brook Road, the edifice was designed and constructed with elements of both Scottish and Gothic architectural styles. However, extensive renovations in the late 1970s left the church lacking the simple rural style it once portrayed.

Mass is held every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. The service is presided over by Rev. Evo DiPerro, who also serves parishes in Louisbourg and Main-a-Dieu.

Dominion Italian Hall, Dominion

Dominion Italian Hall, Gatto Street, Dominion. CONTRIBUTED
Dominion Italian Hall, Gatto Street, Dominion. CONTRIBUTED

 

This community hall has been at the centre of the former coal mining town’s rich Italian culture and heritage for 87 years. When the hall was built, Dominion had the largest Italian population in Canada east of Montreal thanks to the Dominion Coal Company’s recruitment drives in Italy.

The group behind the hall had originally intended to build a church, but legend has it that a hall was built when it seemed unlikely that an Italian priest could be found. However, the building was constructed with church-like Gothic peaks.

The hall remains a fixture of Dominion social life and is located at 14 Gatto St.

The Waterfront, Grand Narrows

This circa-1900 photograph shows the Grand Narrows waterfront. The Grand Narrows Hotel is in the centre of the photograph and the old railroad bridge is shown crossing the Barra Strait. - Beaton Institute Archives
This circa-1900 photograph shows the Grand Narrows waterfront. The Grand Narrows Hotel is in the centre of the photograph and the old railroad bridge is shown crossing the Barra Strait. - Beaton Institute Archives

 

Although most people motoring through central Cape Breton drive right past Grand Narrows as they cross the 1993-constructed Barra Strait Bridge, the small community’s waterfront was a longtime hotbed of activity. Starting in 1847, a ferry service operated between Grand Narrows and Iona for 146 years. The department of highways took over the service in 1927.

A portion of the old ferry dock’s infrastructure remains and the Grand Narrows Waterfront Development Society wants the dock to be the focal point of the historic waterfront.

Grand Narrows is 62 km southwest of Sydney and can be accessed by Highway 223.

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