A representative set of individuals from Cape Breton provides personal narratives about life and culture on the Nova Scotia island. Cape Breton is a region known for its music (well represented here); its Scottish, French, and Mi’kmaq heritage; and its spectacular scenery, including that along the Cabot Trail through Cape Breton Highlands National Park and around Bras d’Or Lake. While traditional culture has a vibrant existence on Cape Breton, the island also faces serious economic and social challenges. With traditional mining, shipping, farming, and fishing industries depressed, tourism, though significant, is a less-than-adequate replacement as economic engine and the island has faced an ongoing decline in population. A cross-section of Cape Bretoners reflected on these issues and the sacrifices they make and joys they find living in such a culturally and scenically rich place. Among the better-known of them are Ginette Chiasson, Alistair MacLeod, Rita Joe, Buddy MacMaster, Joella Foulds, Bob MacEachern, Keith Brown, and Mary Jane Lamond.
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