Cape Breton an island to drive for

The Cabot Trail scenic highway meanders along the coast.

Up in the wilds of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, there's a company named the Glenora Distillery. It is located in a glen, its address is Glenville, and it is near Glenora Falls.

However, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is trying to force Glenora to stop calling its single malt whisky, Canada's sole such beverage, Glen Breton. This comes on the heels of the Canadian Trade-Marks Opposition Board's ruling that Glenora can continue using the word Glen despite oposition from the Scotland-based SWA.

The SWA plans to appeal the ruling to the federal court in Canada. Its stance is that using the word "glen" makes consumers think the whisky is made in Scotland.

The Trade-Marks Board said, in part, "The essence of the opponent’s argument is that Canadian users and purchasers of whisky have been educated to associate the word Glen solely with scotch whisky."

However, if the association "truly believed that the word Glen merits special protection for producers of scotch whisky, it should have long ago taken steps to protect that word as a geographical indication of Scottish origin, much as it did for the words ‘scotch whisky'."

This whole dustup is rather uncharacteristic of Cape Breton, an island connected to mainland Nova Scotia by the Canso Causeway which spans the Strait of Canso.

It's a comparatively quiet place known for its coal mines, steel manufacturing, fishing fleet and musical style, with a population hovering around 145,000 and a range of scenic vistas that make it driving heaven for tourists.

In the 18th Century, the island was home to a French military garrison that guarded the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and to defend the fishing fleet. The French, who called the island Île Royale, turned it over to the British in 1763 under the Treaty of Paris.

Approximately 50,000 Scots moved to Cape Breton during the first half of the 19th Century, blending their heritage with those of French and Irish settlers before them. Gaelic traditions, which covered both the Irish and the Scots, dominated the culture. Alexander Graham Bell, a native of Scotland, settled on Cape Breton in 1885 after he made his fortune with the invention of the telephone.

The island is mainly a rocky coastline, rolling farmland, glacial valleys, barren headlands, mountains and woods. The northern portion is the Highlands, an extension of the Appalachian mountain chain and home to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The Cabot Trail scenic highway encircles the coastal perimeter of the plateau.

Fortress Louisbourg is Canada's largest National Historic Site. It depicts the 18th-century fortified French harbour town of Louisbourg.

Visiting Cape Breton
Cape Breton Web cams
Cape Breton University
Cape Breton Post daily newspaper
Cape Breton Music

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