Province/Territory: Nova Scotia

Island Wide Celtic Cultural Immersion

  • 70 Cape Breton communities open their doors
  • 20000-plus tickets sold to performances annually
  • 09 days to celebrate Celtic culture

North America’s only living Celtic culture celebrates each fall on Cape Breton Island. Recognize the Scottish lilt in the voice of people generations removed from the homeland and celebrate the traditions that have thrived across the waters. Concerts set in a host of venues leave you plenty of time to gaze across the Bras d’Or Lakes and experience the Cabot Trail. Be blown away by vocals in a reconstructed French chapel and then again in a state-of-the-art performance centre. Rock out to the jazz stylings of a local band and then spend an evening heeding the call of the bagpipes. Learn to sing in Gaelic. Allow the community to steal a part of your heart.

Why you should visit
  • Dance the night away at a ceilidh.
  • Celebrate Celtic culture in communities where its music and traditions have thrived for generations.
  • Choose from more than 300 events and artists for your daily entertainment.
  • Take in the history and culture amidst the changing colours of the leaves in a Cape Breton autumn.
  • Explore the Cabot Trail and be awed by the vibrant red and gold leaves of a Cape Breton Island autumn.
  • Participate in the traditions that have thrived across the waters. Sing an 18th-century milling song that still holds sway. Unravel 200 years of history and tradition just by being here.
  • Celebrate the pride of the largest Gaelic population outside of Scotland.

Weather

  • The weather in Cape Breton can change quickly. Generally you can expect warmest temperatures between June and September. In October you’ll need a jacket on most days but the dry weather and beautiful autumn scenes will make road trips and hikes very pleasant.
  • Discover local weather information. Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada's Canadian Climate Website.
Visitor information
When to go
  • The Celtic Colours International Festival takes place in October which is a wonderful time to visit the region. Fall in Cape Breton means changing leaves and long sweater-worthy days. It is also a great time to explore the surrounding area including the Cabot Trail.
Need to know
  • Late night shuttles are offered nightly throughout the festival to help with transportation from the Festival Club.
Getting Here
  • Concert venues are located all over Cape Breton island; a car is useful.
  • Fly into the Halifax International Airport (YHZ) or to the Sydney Regional Airport (YQY) on Cape Breton Island.
  • Limousine services and car rentals are available at both airports and in major cities in to the region. Cape Breton is about a 5 hour drive from Halifax.
  • Martime Bus Lines offers daily service throughout Atlantic Canada, or travel via Greyhound from Quebec, Ontario and other provinces.
  • Via Rail offers service from Vancouver to Halifax by train.