Bras d'Or Blog

Songs, Stories and Drawings: what more could you want from Deep Cove, Cape Breton?

All this can be found in Songs & Stories from Deep Cove Cape Breton. The Bras d'Or Collection contains many different stories and songs about Cape Breton and other places; for example, one of the songs in this book is called "The City of Boston."

Maps of Cape Breton

Contained in the Bras d'Or Collection are many maps of Cape Breton Island. Some of the items are maps themselves while other items contain maps inside them. Here are a couple that have been digitized so far. 

This first map is page 2 of Indutrial Cape Breton: Industrial and Commerical Information. This map highlights many of the cutlural aspect of the island such as the Fortress of Louisbourg and the Highlands National Park.

Next is page 130 from Provincial Tourism Master Plan

Here is a very colourful map that shows the watershed from the Bras d'Or Lakes which is presented on the back cover of Bras d'Or Lakes Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative Workshop

And finially, we have an image also from Bras d'Or Lakes Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative Workshop which shows that Cape Breton Island and frogs have similar shapes. 

Explore more maps online and/or in person at the CBU Library.

The Coal Tree

Normally you see family trees but in The College of Cape Breton Conference on the Future of Steel there is a coal tree. 

Oral Histories

One of the items that has recently been digitized and added to this database contains many oral histories that were recorded in 1982, Community Fabric: Oral Histories. Through these stories you can learn about the different cultures that makes up Cape Breton Island, such as English, Scottish, Belgian, Bulgarian, Greek, Polish, Italian, West Indian and Jewish. Here is part of one of my favorite stories contained in this item. 

"My grandmother built a house after she was widowed. She bought pieces of land. She mortgaged her land and built the house which is still standing. She had a well and garden. She grew herbs--anything that the soil would support--raised cows, and kept boarders" (Mr. Allister Grant, 13).

A truely loved grandmother.

Has anybody from your family written something that is now part of the Bras d’Or Collection?

About a month after I started working on this project I discovered a document that my dad had written in the 1980s. It is titled Sociological Implications of Non-Resident Ownership in Cape Breton, A Functionalist Approach

In order to see if anybody who you know wrote a documnet that is now part of the Bras d'Or Collection, type the name into the search box that appears in the right-hand corner of the webpage. If any documents in the collection have the name that you searched listed as an author they will come up.

Stories about Cape Breton

Do you enjoy stories about Cape Breton Island? If so, you should take a look at Cape Breton Vignettes. There are three different kinds of stories included in its pages.

"One of the first things you learn, when you set out to be a storyteller, is that stories fall naturally into three groups - true stroies, not-true stories, and might-have-been true stories. There are samples of each type in these stories, presented first as brief radio talks" (4).


Poetry and Politics

This collection includes documents from many different years, the majority were written in the 1970s and 80s. One of the older documents in the collection comes from 1920, it is titled The Great Election and written by James D. Gillis. The little book features poems about the Cape Breton Election that took place in 1832.

Notes in the margins

On some of the documents in this collection there are hand-written notes in the margins. For example, in Industrial Cape Breton: Industrial and Commercial Information (call number 601) one person decided to highlight the unfair difference between wage rates for males and females. Here take a look

Mining Legacies: A Collaborative Workshop

Artists Gary Blundell and Victoria Ward visited the Library last week as part of their research into mines and mining communities for an upcoming show to be held at the CBU Art Gallery next spring (2015). For a week (July 21-26), Gary and Victoria worked at the Miners' Museum in Glace Bay and toured old mines and mining communities in the CBRM. They came to the Beaton Institute and CBU Library to look at items in the Bras d'Or Collection--and we certainly have a lot of items about mining in Cape Breton!

Here are a couple of photos Jeremy Timmons (of the Miners' Museum) took while Gary and Victoria did their research. That's our e-resources librarian, Nicole Dixon, digging through geological maps of Cape Breton with Gary (bottom photo). You can view more photos of Gary and Victoria's visit on the Miners' Museum Facebook page


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