Cabot Strait, the passage between southwest Newfoundland and CAPE BRETON ISLAND
. Named for explorer John CABOT
, it is 110 km wide between Cape Ray, Nfld, and Cape North, NS. The principal oceangoing route to the Gulf of ST LAWRENCE
, and hence to much of Eastern Canada, it has been of strategic importance in Canadian military and commercial history. Though sometimes hindered by pack ice from the gulf, steamers between CHANNEL-PORT AUX BASQUES
(later NORTH SYDNEY
) connected the Newfoundland railway with the Canadian system after 1898. CN Marine ferries now connecting the 2 provinces carry more than 300 000 people across the strait each year. A submarine telegraph cable was laid across Cabot Strait in 1856, eventually joining North America and Europe via the transatlantic cable (1866).
ROBERT D. PITT