Mining heritage and tourism in the former coal mining communities of Cape Breton Island, Canada
Cape Breton Island, once world renowned for its coal deposits and as home to the largest self contained steel mill in the world, is now more well known as a scenic destination area for tourism, exemplified by the Cabot Trail. The island is also recognized for its vibrant culture in music, especially the Cape Breton fiddle playing, as demonstrated by the annual Celtic Colours International Festival (Brown and Geddes, 2007). The last underground coal mine and steel mill closed in 2001, leaving behind a vast industrial infrastructure and a very weak economy. Heritage vestiges of the mining industry are still visible in the architecture of the communities such as company houses, the monuments, museums and a tourism route linking this heritage infrastructure. The community heritage of coal mining lives on here through culture, literature, story-telling, and music (Mining Culture Symposium, 2005) as in other mining communities (Pretes, 2002). However, this mining heritage is not the main focus of tourism on the island.