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Bras d'Or Lake UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

Communities include Baddeck, Dundee, St. Peter's, Iona



Surrounded by rolling hills and dotted with islands, the Bras d’Or Lake UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is the heart of Cape Breton Island. Offering a unique blend of both fresh and salt water, the Bras d’Or Lake is a great location to view everything from the majestic bald eagle to curious grey seals. 

Stretching around the lake and including communities and surrounding areas such as Baddeck, Dundee, St. Peter’s, and Iona as well as First Nations communities of We’koqma’q, Wagmatcook, Membertou, Eskasoni, and Potlotek, the diversity of the area doesn’t stop at the waters’ edge. The extensive watershed area is home to Mi’kmaw First Nations and descendants from early French, Scottish, and English settlers. The people of the Biosphere maintain close ties to the culture of their ancestors.

Designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2011, the Bras d’Or Lake and its watershed area was recognized for the residents live in harmony with nature and work to promote a healthy environment, economy and culture. Whether you charter a sailboat in St. Peter’s or Baddeck, paddle the inlets of Baddeck Bay, hike to Uisge Ban Falls, take part in a Mi’kmaw cultural journey in Eskasoni, or join a ceilidh or milling frolic at the Highland Village, embrace the beauty and living culture of this tranquil area.

Get on the Water

Subtle tides, sheltered coves, secluded beaches, and a diversity of marine and bird life make the Bras d’Or Lake ideal for boating, sailing, kayaking, and canoeing. Discover tour operators, charters, and launch sites throughout the area to experience the Bras d’Or Lake firsthand.

Explore the Land

The Biosphere’s extensive watershed offers a number of trails with sweeping views of the Bras d’Or Lake and surrounding hills, and hikes through gorges to towering waterfalls. Be sure to hit the links at a local golf course or the slopes at the local ski hill for some of the best views. 

Connect to the Culture

Home to Mi’kmaw First Nations and descendants from early French, Scottish, and English settlers, the communities within the Biosphere maintain close ties to the culture of their ancestors. Connect with the people and experience their language, art, music and storytelling. 

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