Sydney is Nova Scotia’s second largest city, perched on Cape Breton Island around 1,500 kilometres east of Montreal. Sitting on the east bank of the gorgeous Sydney River, the city is known for its picturesque natural scenery, unique Celtic music and culture, and warm and friendly locals. Sydney was founded by British loyalists escaping the American Revolution in 1785, and these days it’s still possible to hear Gaelic spoken around town.
Although historically an industrial city, providing Canada with much of its coal and steel, Sydney is now a city built for tourism: the recently revamped Sydney Harbour offers cruise passengers the perfect place to dock and appreciate the views from a sea-side restaurant or café. Charming old houses,) an array of dining, drinking and shopping options also line the streets of Sydney. The city’s location also makes it an ideal base from which to explore Louisbourg and the Cabot Trail.
Cruise ships dock at Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion (in the Port of Sydney) – the site of the world’s tallest fiddle (50-foot tall). It is only 400 metres from the downtown area.
The cruise pavilion on the Port of Sydney is equipped with an array of services and facilities to help cruise passengers get the most out of their stay in Sydney.
Internet access (including Wi-Fi)
Tourist information desk
Free walking tour maps
Café and bar
Taxis are usually waiting outside the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion when cruise ships dock into town. They can be hired for short tours around the city.
There are also a number of car hire offices scattered throughout town.
There are all types of accommodation options to suit all budgets throughout the city.
How To Get Around
Most cruise passengers explore the centre of Sydney by foot. However, you’ll need to rent a car or flag a taxi to reach the outlying attractions.
Travel times from the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion:
It is a 2 minute journey to the Jost Heritage House.
It is a 45 minute journey to the Fortress of Louisbourg
It is a 1 hour and 5 minute journey to Baddeck – the start of the Cabot Trail
It is a 1 hour and 5 minute journey to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site.
Currency – The local currency in Sydney is the Canadian Dollar (CAD). Coins come in 1c, 5c, 10c, 25c, 50c, C$1 and C$2 denominations, whilst notes come in C$5, C$10, C$20, C$50 and C$100 denominations.
Time Zone – Sydney is on Atlantic Daylight Time (ADT), which is 3 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
Weather – Sydney’s humid continental climate brings with it severe winters, no dry season and cool summers. Daytime temperatures sit at around 18 degrees Celsius during the summer months of June through August. The winter months of December through February see daytime temperatures hover around -5 degrees Celsius on average. Sydney collects around 1,500mm of rainfall annually, making it one of the wettest cities in Canada. Although it rains all year round, most of the precipitation falls between October and January.
Jost Heritage House – Housing an impressive collection of model ships and medicines harking back to early 20th century apothecary, the Jose Heritage House is one of the oldest wooden buildings in Sydney. Built in the 18th century, the former home of Halifax merchant Thomas Jost gives guests a rare glimpse into Victorian-era life.
Fortress of Louisbourg – An hour’s drive from the city centre, the Fortress of Louisbourg is the largest historical reconstruction project in North America. Founded by the French, the original settlement dates back to 1713 when it was a thriving centre of fishing and trade. Although destroyed in the 1760s, the site has since come back to life through extensive archeological restoration and enthusiastic animators who help transport visitors back to earlier times.
Cabot Trail – Take a scenic drive through one of the most scenic and breathtaking drives in the world: the Cabot Trail. At its most visually stunning during autumn, the drive features incredible mountain ranges, unimpeded views of the coastline and rocky cliff faces. Pack a picnic for the day and enjoy your lunch at one of the many panoramic viewing platforms on the trail.
Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site – Learn all about the man who invented the telephone at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. Containing a large collection of artifacts and inventions, visitors will leave with a greater understanding and appreciation of Mr. Bell and how he changed the shape of the world.