The community's origins are closely connected with coal production, which began in 1829 when the General Mining Association opened a drift mine. In this early period the community was known as Old Bridgeport, but in 1893 it changed its name to Dominion after the Dominion No 1A Colliery. That year the area mines were acquired by the Dominion Coal Company, a syndicate led by Boston entrepreneur Henry M. Whitney. The Dominion Coal Company was then absorbed by the notoriously insolvent British Empire Steel Corporation (BESCO) in 1920, and when BESCO foundered in 1928, it became part of the Dominion Steel and Coal Company. Coal production peaked during the 2 world wars, then declined sharply afterwards. The community's last mine, Dominion No 1B, closed in 1955. During Dominion's mining history, 102 miners were killed in mining accidents.
Similar to other communities in industrial Cape Breton, Dominion faces the challenge to adapt its economy to new ventures, including tourism. It is located next to Dominion Beach, one of the finest sand beaches on Cape Breton Island. The Heritage School House Museum, situated adjacent to the beach, is a vintage one-room schoolhouse (c 1888) now fully restored and staffed by interpreters during the summer.
Author PETER S. MCINNIS
Links to Other Sites
Cape Breton Regional Municipality
The website for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality in Nova Scotia.
Atlantic Provinces Chambers of Commerce
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Nova Scotia: Community Profiles
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