the boom in coal and steel development and the investment
of large amounts of capital into these island resources, small
villages in Cape Breton grew into bustling industrial towns.
In 1901, Sydney ranked 28th and Glace Bay 46th in relation
to other population centres in Canada. Just ten years later,
Glace Bay ranked 22nd as its immigrant population settled
into family life. Children of immigrant families were born
here with over 79% of the residents of Glace Bay and 69% of
residents in Sydney Mines Canadian born. These immigrants
were among those who would profoundly affect the social nature
In 1911, if a person in Cape Breton was not born in Nova Scotia,
then they were most likely from Newfoundland, Scotland, Russia
or Italy. By 1921, data indicates that the ethnic origin of
Cape Bretoners was mainly Scottish, followed by English, Irish
and then Acadian or French. There were smaller numbers of
Jewish, Austro-Hungarian, Belgian, Polish and Black citizens.
Before the 20th century, coal mining was still fairly small-scale
and inefficient. Even the General Mining Association (G.M.A.),
which held a 30-year monopoly on the industry (1827-1857),
hampered the development of the mines to their full potential.
Still, coal was one of the chief necessities for the development
of modern industry. Coal mining and its related industries,
in addition to the construction of a Sydney Steel Pant, were
catalysts in the development of the Island's culture and increase
As industry became more organized with the formation of the
Dominion Coal Company (1893) and the Dominion Iron and Steel
Corporation (1909), there was a parallel wave of immigration
and growth in the area.
Throughout the first three quarters of the 19th century, coal
was a seasonal industry drawing men from Newfoundland and
rural Cape Breton in the spring, only to return home in winter.
As early as 1820, the General Mining Association imported
experienced colliers from Scotland and Ireland.
1 | 2 | 3