Music in Northern Cape Breton

Local Bag Piper, one of many fine musicians to be found in Northern Cape Breton | Stephanie Fitzgerald

The Top of the Island’s love of Celtic music began as the first settlers arrived in “New Scotland”, today’s Nova Scotia. Today highland music and festivals are an integral part of  life in many communities throughout northern  Cape Breton Island. Opportunities to experience various types of music present themselves in many ways at the Top of the Island.

The Cape North Farmer’s Market offers live music each Saturday from June to October, 10 am to 1 pm. Admission to the market is free, and the music is provided by local talent.

Regular Scottish performances are a feature at the Markland’s Octagon Arts Center. While you’re there, check out the Markland’s restaurant, it is one of the best on Cape Breton Island.

Also, many pubs and festivals are held in the region throughout the year. These festivals are organized by locals and feature local talent. To find out more about these events, please visit our Events Calender.

In the fall, Northern Cape Breton proudly hosts a Celtic Colours Concert  in the third week of October. In addition to the concert, the Bay Cafe serves a delicious community meal and the folks at Oshan Whale Watch offer a Celtic Hospitality (free) Whale Tour.

Entertainers gathering at Hideaway Campground ( | Bert Gildart

Finally, impromptu ceildhs occasionally occur at Bed and Breakfasts and campgrounds. The tradition made popular by Winston “Scotty” Fitzgerald and other renowned Cape Breton musicians is alive and well here at the Top of the Island. Visitors fortunate enough to “stumble onto” one of these gatherings will remember the evening as one of the highlights of their trip.

The fiddle became the instrument of choice for many who wished to learn and pursue traditional Scottish Highland Music. The tiny village of White Point, on beautiful Aspy Bay, at the top of Cape Breton Island, produced one of the most well known celtic musicians, Winston “Scotty ” Fitzgerald. His ability to seek out the older musicians and capture the traditional style of Scottish music at the early age of ten years became admired by those who loved the music. He was in high demand through out his life to perform at weddings, dances, short tours and the traditional house party. He was one of the first to have a radio program in the early fifties and later a television program. He also produced 78 rpm and LP records. Some of his music has been re-recorded on tape and CD’s.


Cape North Farmers’ Market
60 Bay St. Lawrence Road Cape North , Nova Scotia Phone: 1-902-383-2198
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The Cape North Farmer’s Market offers a Market Cafe, live music by local talent, organic produce, local crafts, home baking, and original art by local artists. Join us every Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm when the doors to the Cape North Firehall open to most down-home Market on the Cabot Trail. Remember, admission to the market, like Cape Breton hospitality, is free.


The Markland
Dingwall , Nova Scotia Phone: 800 872 6048 Phone: 902 383 2246
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Our restaurant is open to everyone and features locally caught and prepared food.

There are several reasons to make the Markland your choice for your vacation, here are some in no particular order: centrally located to Cape Breton’s famous golf courses, Dingwall is the hidden gem of the Cabot Trail, we have the pristine ocean beach to visit, Friday night concerts, chamber music Sunday afternoon, fine dining, nature walks, and we are near National Park, bird & whale watching.

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