Gampo Abbey Monastery

Very few Cape Bretoners are aware that the island is home to a monastery so it’s a given that many of the tourists are not aware of it either.  I just happened to be driving through Pleasant Bay along the Cabot Trail when I decided to take a drive down a road I’d never been down before.  That road, Red River Road, took me on a scenic drive along the coast.  When the pavement changed to gravel, my curiosity got the better of me and I kept going until I came upon a peculiar sight; a Buddhist shrine.  I parked my car alongside the road and walked around.  In my wanderings I discovered a foot path that ran alongside a river with little Buddha statues placed in various places along the way.  I also found the main building and learned that I had happened upon a Buddhist monastery.

While I was able to walk around the grounds and have a look without anyone asking me to leave, there are visiting hours in the afternoon for people who want to take a tour of the inside and outside of the monastery.  These tours take place during the summer months Monday to Friday at 1:30 and 2:30 and allow visitors to get a glimpse of what daily life is like at the Abbey.

Andrea MacEachern is a freelance travel writer and amateur photographer living in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

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