The Historic Village of Lingan

Industrial Cape Breton is made up of a number of communities but visitors often only visit the city of Sydney before heading to the Northern portion of the island.  Lingan is one of the communities located about twenty minutes from downtown Sydney and although it is very small, is a great little village to visit.

The first thing that people will see when approaching Lingan is the massive coal generating station that supplies power to hundreds of thousands of people.  The plant’s days are numbered and gradually, this type of power will be replaced by more environmentally-friendly power sources.  This gradual replacement can be seen in the towering windmills that line the shore. A wood road is located near these windmills and provides visitors with a scenic coastal hike where Bald Eagles, fox and deer are often spotted and an old fort sits atop the cliffs.

Lingan is an old village.  It was first settled by the French until the Expulsion of the Acadians saw those original settlers deported back to France and various parts of the Southern United States.  English settlers moved in and it is the descendents of those settlers who mostly populate the village today.

Lingan Church is over one-hundred years old and has recently been designated a heritage site.  This means the church and its hall, a central meeting place in the community, will be saved from the wrecking ball unlike many other churches in the area.  The view from atop this hill near the church is beautiful.  One can see the quaint little fishing wharves and Dominion Beach Sandbar and the towns of Dominion and Glace Bay across the Bay.  Across the street, in the wooded area behind the hall, is a system of trails and foot paths that make for great exploring or blueberry picking in the summer months.

A short walk or drive down Lingan Beach Rd. takes visitors to the fishing wharves where much of the activity in the community takes place.  One can spend an afternoon watching the boats come in, fishing from the docks or walking the little beach.  If you are brave enough and don’t mind getting your feet wet and doing a bit of climbing, there is an interesting little cave at the far end of the beach that is reachable during low tide.  In the winter months, there are two ponds in the area that are popular outdoor skating rinks.

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

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