Photos by Kris Tynski

Welcome to the Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere

 We envision the Bras d’Or Lake as a special place where communities are joined together in thoughtful promotion of environmental assets and responsible economic development.

It is our mission to engage all peoples in the balanced and sustainable development of the exceptional cultural, social, environmental and economic assets within the Bras d’Or Lake watershed.


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She is cruising the Biosphere, folks ! ... See MoreSee Less

Really enjoying the contributions from Nessa Darcy Creative Entomologist Rambling House! Wonderful way of connecting people and culture with strong nature themes throughout :-) ... See MoreSee Less



The Mi'kmaq are the indigenous people of the area. They had ingratiated themselves earlier since 1600's with French Catholics and Chief Membertou was baptised as a Catholic in 1610 and to this day the Mi'kmaq are strong in their faith with the oldest Catholic Mission in Canada. The Gaels came over in 1802 and they had only a small crew. When they made land with their boats, the Mi'kmaq were ahead of them. Since the Mi'kmaq were there before them, the Gaels perceived that there was going to be difficulty and that they had no wish to befriend them. The poor Gaels, considering their number and that of those against them, saw there was little they could do. The one thing they thought is that it would be be best for them to make their peace with God considering their inferiority in manpower. They crossed themselves, and when they blessed themselves, the Mi'kmaq noticed what the Gaels had done. They then knew that the Gaels were Catholics. However, they had been deceived so often...but they had to find another way of asserting if indeed the Gaels were Catholic. Did they possess anything that would prove they belonged to the Catholic faith? One of the Gaels opened a small trunk and he took out a cross. He held the cross up. When he raised the cross, the Mi'kmaq shook hands with the Gaels, realising they were of the same religion. Since they were on the same side, the Mi'kmaq had no wish to make any further trouble. They saw that it wouldn't be fair of them because of their superior numbers.It happened that they had a good many eels, and they decided to make a great celebration. This was done, but they weren't using salt. But the Gaels themselves...they were afraid of the eels the Mi'kmaq were giving them because they had been fooled once before by people giving them snakes for food instead of eels. However because the Mi'kmaq were so kind, their intentions were so good, the Gaels offered them salt. They tried the salt on their food and they liked it very much. They asked if the Gaels could give them any of their salt. That could be done if they had some way of holding the salt. This was no difficulty for them because they had birch bark. They stripped the bark and folded it. This was their way of containing the salt. Now to bring things to a conclusion, on that same location where the Gaels met the Mi'kmaq , a church was built in that very spot. That church is St Columba and it sits in same place today proudly named after the Catholic monk Columba and the community is called Iona after the Isle of Iona and the Strait of water it faces is the Strait of Barra named after the Isle of Barra.
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Photos from Cape Breton Island - the other Scotland across the Atlantic's post ... See MoreSee Less