in other parts of Cape Breton Island, the first people to settle
here were the Mi'kmaq, members of the Wabenaki
First Nation people, attracted to this beautiful, serene place
by the abundant fish and excellent game. Baddeck, in fact, takes
its name from the Mi'kmaq "Abadak," meaning, "Place with Island Near".
That Island, just off the shore of Baddeck, was the home of British
officer James Duffus, who received a crown grant of the Island
in the late 1700s. He christened the Island "Duffus Island" and
was not until 1833 when William Kidston married James Duffus' widow
and settled there, that the place got its current name, "Kidston
Baddeck owes much to Mr. Kidston who, in addition
to being an astute business man, was responsible for the separation
Breton and Victoria Counties and it was he who granted the site
of the present Court House to the Village of Baddeck.
For many years, only two families made their
homes on the shores across from Kidston Island. But by 1881 the
of Baddeck was a thriving community that boasted a shipbuilding
business, several hotels, its own post office, a druggist, two
tailors, three newspapers, a marble and granite works, a photographic
store, a laundry, five doctors, three lawyers and telephone services.
sidewalks were planked, the roadways wide and tree-lined. Baddeck's
library contained over 8,000 volumes! Around Baddeck, in rural
communities such as Middle River and North River, prosperous
farms dotted the hillsides. Cattle, sheep, swine, goats and poultry
were all raised here. Dairy products, fruits and vegetables, were
all locally produced.
Twice in its history Baddeck has been struck
by tragedy. The first incident was a cholera outbreak in 1908 that
left thirty-one people dead. In 1926, on Labour Day, a fire broke
out that could not be controlled and before dawn the following
morning, twenty buildings had been destroyed.
Among our notables we count J.A.D. McCurdy, who
made the first manned Canadian flight above the ice of Baddeck
Bay in the famous Silver Dart in February 1909. Alexander
Graham Bell and his wife, Mabel, made Beinn Bhreagh their summer
home for many years. When Mr. Bell retired, he made Baddeck his
residence until his death in 1922.