Chéticamp is a fishing community on the Cabot Trail on the west coast
of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia at the western entrance to Cape Breton
Highlands National Park. The downtown area overlooks a large bay, into which the
Chéticamp River flows, that is protected from the Gulf of Saint Lawrence by
Chéticamp Island. Having a number of public facilities it performs a service
function for the northernmost part of Inverness County. The community has almost
4,000 residents, a large number of whom are Acadians and speak French natively,
as well as English. Together with its smaller neighbour, Saint-Joseph-du-Moine ,
Chéticamp makes up the largest Francophone enclave on Cape Breton Island. The
2006 population was 3,039 people.
The name "Chéticamp" derives from the name given by the Micmac people, who
still live on Cape Breton Island (but not in Chéticamp). The name is Awjátúj
(Francis-Smith orthography) in the Micmac language, meaning "rarely full",
presumably making reference to the mouth of Chéticamp harbor that once had a
large dune that grew during low tide. The name does not always take the
acute accent on the e in English (i.e., "Cheticamp").
The French spelling of the town's name went through several variations
including Ochatisia (1660), Ochatis (1689), Chétican,
Chéticamps (1725) and Chétifcamp (1803). The current spelling
appeared for the first time on 3 May 1815, in the writings of the missionary
Antoine Manseau. In French, the name has been pronounced successively Le
Chady, Le Grand Chady, Le Chady Grand, Île de Chedegan and finally, the
current version, Chatican. Chéticamp is usually pronounced phonetically
in French outside of the area.
A village in western Nova Scotia, Saint Alphonse de Clare, was originally
called Chéticamp de Clare. Its name was changed to avoid confusion for postal
Chéticamp was a fishing station used during the summer months by Charles
Robin, a merchant from the island of Jersey, and is considered one of the
Acadian capitals of the world. In the years following the Great Expulsion, many
Acadians came to this area. The first permanent settlers following that era were
the families of Pierre Bois and Joseph Richard, who arrived in 1782, although
both brothers John and Paul Chiasson along with many other French settlers like
the AuCoin family were believed to have predated Bois, Richard and Robin by over
100 years. Chiasson is looked at today as the oldest family name on record in
the town. Many of the original family names still reside in and around the small
town. They, like all the original founding family names of Cheticamp, can be
found chiseled in stone in the town still to this day. Settlement was formally
established in 1785 by a grant of land to the 14 original settlers. Today
Chéticamp, which is at the entrance of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park,
is a popular tourist spot.
Fishing boats at Chéticamp.
Apart from an important gypsum mine which operated off and on until the
Second World War, the main industry in Chéticamp historically has been fishing.
As fish quotas have declined, tourism has taken on more importance and is the
largest industry at this time.
The tourism industry is based on the scenery found in the coastal village at
the entrance of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Chéticamp has also
marketed its traditional rug hookers ("tapis hookers"), Acadian music and food.
Activities for visitors include whale watching. They also host an International
Dance Festival, and La fête nationale de l'Acadie (August 15).
The local beach named La Plage St. Pierre gives the locals as well as
tourists a place for swimming, camping, and other recreational activities. The
Northern Inverness Recreational Association also manages the local golf course.
It's considered part of "Cape Breton's Fabulous Foursome" and is renowned for
the beautiful views and many rabbits.
Chéticamp extends itself for four kilometres along the Cabot Trail. One
kilometre northeast is Petit Étang, then further east is La Prairie. South of La
Prairie is Le Platin and Belle-Marche. Even further south is Pointe-à-la-Croix
(Point Cross). From Main street Chéticamp, you can view the typical Chéticamp
houses. Saint Peter's is unique and rich in Acadian history.
The Université Sainte-Anne has a campus in Saint-Joseph-du-Moine. Many
fisherman travel from Chéticamp to the Magdalen Islands, which are also Acadian,
even though they are part of Quebec. Joe's Scarecrow Village is a roadside
attraction featuring a display of scarecrows located just outside of Chéticamp.
Chéticamp info reproduced from Wikipedia page
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheticamp,_Nova_Scotia under the