Explore Baddeck, Nova Scotia

The village of Baddeck in Nova Scotia was formed in 1908, but its history goes back to the first Mi'kmaq, French, and British settlements. Alex Graham Bell lived in the town, and it was there that Bell's Silver Dart made the first flight in the commonwealth.

Early Settlement of Baddeck Nova Scotia. 

The name "Baddeck" is thought to come from a Mi'kmaq word. One idea is that it comes from the word "Abadek" or "Abadak," which means "a portion of food set aside for someone" or "a hot place." Another idea is that it comes from a word that means "a place near an island."

In 1629, French Jesuit priests set up a settlement at nearby St. Anns, which is how Europeans first learned about the inland part of Cape Breton Island. The British settled there after France gave up the land in the 18th century.

Early Settlement of Baddeck Nova Scotia. 

Before it was called Kidston Island, Lt. James Duffus was a half-pay Naval Officer whose brother-in-law was Sir Samuel Cunard, the father of the Cunard Line of steamships. 

He built his home on what is now called Kidston Island but was called Mutton Island at the time. Duffus changed the name of the island to Duke of Kent's Island to honor his sponsor. 

Duffus ran a store on the island that served people from River Baddeck and Grand Narrows. Customers were taken to the island by boat. 

Duffus was made a judge in 1820, and in 1826, he was given 400 acres of land on the island. Duffus passed away in 1833, and the business was run by people who used to work for him for a little over two years.

In 1836, the people in charge of his estate sent William Kidston to Halifax to close down his business.

The Village’s Growth

Shire Town

Baddeck was part of Cape Breton County until 1851 when it was called "Little Baddeck." William Kidston pushed for Cape Breton County to be split off. Kidston's efforts paid off in 1851 when Victoria County was split off from Cape Breton County. 

This is when Baddeck got its current name. Kidston also pushed for Baddeck to be the site of the new county jail and courts. 

This happened when Baddeck was made the shire town of the county. When Baddeck became the county's shire town, it set up a local council and made Murdoch MacAskill the village watchman. In 1889, the Victoria County Court House was finally built.

In 1874, the American author and Mark Twain's friend Charles Dudley Warner published Baddeck, And That Sort of Thing. 

This book made Baddeck famous. Warner had been to Baddeck with Joseph Twichell the previous year, and the book told the story of their trip. It was built in 1861 and is still in use today. Warner stayed at the Telegraph House during his trip. 

Warner said that Baddeck was a "clean-looking village of white wooden houses, with maybe seven or eight hundred people living there. "Warner went to a church service at the Kirk by the water. 

Knox Church, a Presbyterian church built on Bay Road in 1857, would have been it. A pretty wooden tower and a plain, ugly interior are what he says the church looks like compared to a New England meeting house. 

Warner also went to the Baddeck County Jail, which only had one inmate at the time—a carpenter who was allowed to have a desk and newspapers.

"Sleeping room" was at the top of the jail, which had four rooms on the first floor. At that time, one of the empty rooms was being used by the jailer's family. 

Warner says that Baddeck has "very good schools" that are on par with those in Boston, along with the church and jail. 

Other trip books came out after Warner's. Samuel Greene Wheeler Benjamin wrote The Cruise of the Alice May in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Adjacent Waters, which came out in 1885 and had an account of Baddeck in it. 

Benjamin says that at this time, Baddeck was made up of highlanders, and many of them spoke only Gaelic.

The time of Alexander Graham Bell

Alex Graham Bell, his wife Mabel, and their two young girls came by boat through the St. Peters Canal in 1885. They fell in love with Baddeck and built two homes on their land, which they named "Beinn Bhreagh," which means "Beautiful Mountain" in Gaelic. 

They also built another Bell Laboratory, which is related to AT&T's Bell Laboratories from many years later. The people in the town started a new era with the help of Dr. Bell and his family. 

Though Alec Bell was Scottish, he loved Baddeck and made their house a place where people from the neighborhood could get together. Alec and his wife, Mabel encouraged the locals to be curious, friendly, scientific, and productive.

Alec Bell did tests in his new lab on Beinn Bhreagh, which was across the bay from Baddeck. He also built mammoth kites, airplanes, hydrofoil boats, and lifeboats for the Royal Canadian Navy during World War I. 

Many people in the village had steady jobs thanks to the Bells. Mabel Bell also did a lot to promote home industries, such as the rug hooking that the village of Chéticamp is famous for today.

At his lab in Baddeck, Aviation Bell did tests with tetrahedral kites. Thomas Etholen Selfridge flew Bell's AEA Cygnet while it was being towed into the air by a motorboat on December 6, 1907. 

It reached a height of 168 feet (51 m) and was the first heavier-than-air flight in Canada that was logged. Baddeck was the site of the first controlled powered flight in Canada and the British Empire because of these trials. 

The Silver Dart, Bell's plane, was first flown from the ice of Baddeck Bay on February 23, 1909, by J.A.D. McCurdy, who worked for Bell.

In the months after the Silver Dart's flight, Bell's friends Casey Baldwin and McCurdy started the Canadian Aerodrome Company in Baddeck with money from Bell. 

It was the first company in the British Empire to make commercial airplanes. In 1909, it made the Baddeck No. 1, which was created and built in Canada, and a copy called the Baddeck No. 2. 

In 1910, they also made the Hubbard Monoplane, which was the first Canadian plane made to be sent abroad. McCurdy and Baldwin also made Bell's try-out Bell Oionus I, but it never took off. The last day of business for the Canadian Aerodrome Company was in 1910.

The Hydrofoil

The hydrofoil HD-4, which Bell designed and which Mabel Bell used to fly, set the world boat speed record in 1917 by going 71 mph (114 km/h) across Baddeck Bay, which is part of Bras d'Or Lake. 

This record stood for 20 years. In honour of those early tests, the Canadian Forces named a new experimental hydrofoil patrol ship HMCS Bras d'Or in 1968. (look at Frederick Walker Baldwin)

Building the Alexander Graham Bell Museum

In Baddeck, the Alexander Graham Bell Museum was built to honour the life and work of Alexander Graham Bell. The museum shows off Bell's many inventions and advances to technology and science. 

People can learn about this famous inventor's life and work, such as his groundbreaking work in flight and telecommunications.

Events to mark the 100th anniversary of the flight of the Silver Dart

In 2009, Baddeck celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Silver Dart's first flight, a very important event in the history of flying. 

Alexander Graham Bell's groundbreaking achievements in aviation were honored at a number of events and exhibitions held to mark the centenary. 

People from all over the world came to Baddeck to celebrate this important flight, which showed the village's long history of being connected to aviation innovation.

Most recent events

Baddeck has continued to be an important culture and historical centre in Nova Scotia over the past few years. 

Many tourists and history buffs love to visit this place because of its beautiful scenery, historic sites, and connection to Alexander Graham Bell. The village has also accepted its natural beauty. Outdoorsy people come to do things like sailing and hiking.

Tourist Attractions Baddeck Nova Scotia

Tourist attractions in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, include a variety of exciting destinations. Visitors can explore the Uisge Bàn Falls Provincial Park, offering scenic hiking trails and waterfalls. 

Another must-visit is the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site, where guests can learn about Bell's inventions and enjoy beautiful grounds with lake views. 

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Bras d'Or Yacht Club and the North River Kayak Day Tours provide opportunities for water activities and exploration. 

Additionally, the Cape Breton Island, Baddeck Forks Golf Club, and Bell Bay Golf Club offer more leisurely experiences in the area. 

These attractions cater to a range of interests, making Baddeck a diverse and engaging destination for tourists.

Best Outdoor Activities To Do In Baddeck

The best outdoor activities to do in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, include exploring the Uisge Bàn Falls Provincial Park for scenic hiking trails and waterfalls, visiting the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site to learn about Bell's inventions.

You can also enjoy the beautiful grounds with Lake views, go on a kayak tour with North River Kayak Tours along the Cabot Trail for a unique coastal experience, and engage in water activities at the Bras d'Or Yacht Club for a fun-filled adventure. 

Additionally, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy golfing at the Baddeck Forks Golf Club and Bell Bay Golf Club for a leisurely experience in the area. These activities cater to a range of interests, making Baddeck a fantastic destination for outdoor enthusiasts.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Baddeck, Nova Scotia

Q1. What is the history of Baddeck, Nova Scotia?

Baddeck has a rich history dating back to Mi'kmaq, French, and British settlements. It gained prominence when Alexander Graham Bell made it his home and conducted pioneering work in aviation there, including the first controlled powered flight in Canada.

Q2. How did Baddeck get its name?

The origin of the name "Baddeck" is uncertain, but it is believed to come from a Mi'kmaq word meaning "a portion of food set aside for someone" or "a hot place." Another interpretation suggests it refers to "a place near an island."

Q3. What role did Alexander Graham Bell play in the history of Baddeck?

Alexander Graham Bell and his family settled in Baddeck in 1885. Bell conducted various experiments in aviation and hydrofoils, contributing significantly to the village's development and its association with innovation.

Q4. What significant events occurred in Baddeck related to aviation?

Baddeck witnessed the first controlled powered flight in Canada, conducted by J.A.D. McCurdy in the Silver Dart in 1909. Additionally, Bell's hydrofoil HD-4 set a world boat speed record in 1917.

Q5. What tourist attractions are there in Baddeck?

Tourist attractions in Baddeck include the Uisge Bàn Falls Provincial Park, Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site, Bras d'Or Yacht Club, North River Kayak Day Tours, and golf clubs like Baddeck Forks Golf Club and Bell Bay Golf Club.

Q6. What outdoor activities can visitors enjoy in Baddeck?

Visitors can engage in hiking and exploring waterfalls at Uisge Bàn Falls Provincial Park, learning about Bell's inventions at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site, kayaking with North River Kayak Tours, sailing at Bras d'Or Yacht Club, and golfing at local clubs.

Q7. How can I learn more about the history of Baddeck?

The Alexander Graham Bell Museum in Baddeck is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the life and work of Alexander Graham Bell, offering insights into the village's historical significance.

Q8. When is the best time to visit Baddeck?

Baddeck experiences pleasant weather during the summer months, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities and sightseeing. However, tourists interested in events like the Silver Dart anniversary celebrations may plan their visit accordingly.


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