St. Peter's Canal is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2019 and Parks Canada is planning to celebrate all season long in partnership with the communities of St. Peter’s and Potlotek, creating memorable experiences for visitors and community members to mark this anniversary.

Come join us for our season launch event on Saturday, May 18, 2019 and the 150th anniversary celebration on Saturday, August 10, 2019.

The canal is the pride of the village of St. Peter’s, whose history can be traced back to a traditional Mi’kmaw portage route and a 17th-century trading post and haulover road built by French merchant, Nicolas Denys. With a steadily increasing volume of shipping, a canal replaced the haulover road in 1869. Its remarkable 15-year construction and evolution as a contemporary waterway opened Cape Breton Island up to development.

Things to do in St. Peter’s

The village of St. Peter’s is always bustling, offering various activities, attractions and experiences by land or by sea. Be sure to check out for all up-to-date events, list of accommodations, attractions and a business directory.

St. Peter’s has many beautiful trails for walking, jogging, hiking, biking or bird watching. The canal is also a great spot for fishing. If you like being on the water, consider a sailing charter on the sparkling Bras d’Or Lake, kayak, canoe or paddle through the canal or enjoy a swim in Battery Provincial Park. If you’re a boater, don’t forget to pick up a commemorative boating certificate for passing through the lock during this milestone year. Enjoy a picnic while you watch boats pass through the canal lock and speak to canal staff to learn more about the rich history of St. Peter’s and its canal. If you want to learn more about the village’s natural and cultural heritage, visit the Nicolas Denys Museum, Wallace MacAskill Museum and the OceanView Wildlife Museum. Immerse yourself in traditional music or dance and enjoy some local cuisine.

• Experience the Mi’kmaw culture by visiting The Heart of Mi’kma’ki at Canal Landing • Rent fishing rods and kayaks, and paddle through the canal to the sparkling Bras d’Or Lake • Enjoy the Perfect Picnic – pre-order your meal for two at a participating restaurant to enjoy in a scenic park location

Local festivals and events

May 18: Season Launch Event, St. Peters Canal National Historic Site
July 2 – 7: Seaside Lobsterfest (Destination Cape Breton Signature Event for 2019)
June 30 – July 7: KitchenFest (Destination Cape Breton Signature Event for 2019)
July 25 – 29: St. Anne’s Mission (Potlotek)
July 29 – August 4: Nicolas Denys Days
August 4: Swim the Canal
August 10: 150th Anniversary Celebrations, St. Peters Canal National Historic Site
September 12 – 15: St. Peter’s Pirate Days (Destination Cape Breton Signature Event for 2019)
October 11 – 19: Celtic Colours International Festival (Destination Cape Breton Signature Event for 2019)

May 18: Season Launch Event

St. Peters Canal National Historic Site is excited to be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the St. Peters Canal and you’re invited to the season launch. Join us on Saturday, May 18th at 1:00 p.m. at the Canal as we kick off the celebrations.

This event will include the unveiling of our special commemorative boating certificates, a canal talk and lock demonstration, as well as a reception with refreshments, cake, and live music at the Bras d'Or Lakes Inn from 2 – 4 p.m. In case of inclement weather, the event will take place at the Bras d’Or Lakes Inn.

August 10: 150th Anniversary Celebrations

Time Activity
10 - 11 a.m. Official ceremony
Join us in celebrating 150 years of operation of the St. Peters Canal. The official ceremony will include a special re-enactment of Potlotek's Expo '67 canoe trip through the canal, Mi'kmaq drummers and dancers, and the unveiling of two new interpretation panels.
11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Outdoor Parent & Tot session sponsored by Cape Breton Family Place Resource Centre
12 - 1 p.m. Barbecue and lobster boil at Canal Landing and other vendors
12:30 - 12:45 p.m. Performance by the Richmond Highlanders
1 p.m. Cake cutting
1 - 4 p.m. Musical entertainment in the tent
2:30 p.m. Boat parade through the canal
Dusk Fireworks over St. Peters Bay
Rentals available all day at Canal Landing (kayaks, canoes, pedal boats, pedal boards, bicycles and fishing rods). See Canal Landing for more information.

Check for more details on each festival and event!