Port Morien, a small village in South Eastern Cape Breton, six miles from Glace Bay, is one of the oldest communities in Eastern Canada, the area having been settled in 1786.
It’s bay was first navigated by the Aboriginal population of the area, and then the Portugese. It appeared on a map dated 1580 as “Baye de Mordienne.” The French mined coal here for the Fortress of Louisbourg beginning in 1720. Coal mined here in 1724 was being traded to Boston in the first officially recorded export of minerals in Canada. The ownership of the mine changed hands between the English and French four times, with the English ultimately gaining control in the late Eighteenth Century. In the Nineteenth Century, it was named Cow Bay by settlers, after (it is alleged) a cow transported to Sydney from Louisbourg escaped from a vessel and was later found in the area.
By the 1860s and ’70s, the village grew to a population of 3000 as a result of the establishment of the Blockhouse and Gowrie mines. Gradually it dwindled in the Twentieth Century to 800 people. In 1895, its name was changed to Port Morien. In two centuries it has gone from an industrial area dependent on fishing and coal mining, primarily, to a lobster fishing and retirement village. In the year 200o, the lobster fleet consisted of 47 boats.
In past years, the community, thanks in part to the diligent work of the Port Morien Development Association, has undergone a major transformation. Take the time to come visit the community and its fine establishments!
Click here for a downloadable walking map of the community.
Community Spirit Award
In 2008, Port Morien was the proud recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Community Spirit Award. Port Morien’s submission to the contest can be found here.