by Micheline Guillot & Jacques Cote
From 1952 to 1955, approximately 10,092,000 tons of rock quarried from nearby Cape Porcupine were dumped in the 1.3km by 65 ft. gap of Canso Strait to connect the North American continent to Cape Breton Island. Despite all this, Cape Breton Island remained a true island as a result of the 24 m (79 ft) wide and 570 m (1,870 ft) long Canso Canal, which is located at the eastern end of the causeway to allow ship traffic to transit the Strait of Canso.
Over the years, hundreds of thousands of passengers, tons and tons of coal, land and sea produce, and all sorts of goods transited onto and off of the Island through the rail line and the two lanes of traffic on the Causeway, which has remained virtually unchanged for nearly 60 years.
More and more, cyclists by the hundreds are riding their bicycle on the Causeway while travelling across Canada from coast to coast to visit the home of the famous Cabot Trail, one of the top 10 cycling destination worldwide.
The Causeway has stood up pretty well but the passage of time, the pounding of powerful waves and storm surges coming from both sides all through those years, has meant that some maintenance due to maintain this important link for mainlanders to reach Cape Breton and Newfoundland.
One of the improvements made this year by the provincial Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, was the installation of a new wire guard rail and the paving of the shoulders on both sides. This represents a major improvement for the safety of all Causeway users, motorized and non-motorized users included.
To celebrate, Velo Cape Breton Bicycle Association is inviting everyone to join the Inaugural Bicycle Ride across the NEW Canso Causeway. The ride will leave from the Visitor’s Information Centre in Port Hastings (Island’s side) at 1pm on Sunday, December 11 returning by 1:30pm for a hot spicy Nova Scotia cider and a few words by honourable guests. Not having a bicycle is not an excuse because a group will walk to pass the swing bridge and return to the VIC.
Environment Canada is calling for a beautiful nippy day… A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 2. High minus 1–just the right temperature for rosy cheeks and lots of laughter!