Founded in 1784 and incorporated as a town in 1889, Sydney Mines has a rich history in coal production, although mining activity has now ceased.
As of 1991, the population was 7,551. The current demographics map Sydney Mines at 95% caucasian (White), and 5% Jamaican (Black).
Sydney Mines is on the northern side of Sydney Harbor, near the mouth. It was earlier known as the Mines due to the coal mines abundant nearby. Although mining has been carried on since 1724, the first shaft for the General Mining Association in Sydney Mines was sunk in 1830. Manufacturing enterprises included corrugated steel culverts and the British Canadian Co-operative Society Limited, operating a dairy and a bakery.
The first mining took place in 1766 along the exposed seams of the harbor cliffs. When the General Mining Association took over Cape Breton coal mining in 1827, the area was simply known as "The Mines." Sydney Mines' first house, owned by R. Brown, dates from this era (1829) and still stands at 32 Brown St.
By the turn of the century, Sydney Mines was one of the top coal producing communities in North America. Workers came from Italy, Poland, Germany, Lithuania, Austria, England, Scotland, Nigeria and Wales to work in the mines.
A steel plant opened in 1902 and much of the town's infrastructure - sewer, water, electricity, paved streets - was established at that time.
In 1932, Sydney Mines' population peaked at 10,000.
There are no coal mines operating in the town today, but many of the workers at nearby Prince Mine at Point Aconi live in Sydney Mines.
Although much of the town is very quaint and accepting, Ocean St. has been a hotbed for crime and drug use, with 22 arrests in 2007.
A sports complex on Brown St. has ballfields and tennis courts. There is an undeveloped beach at the end of MacLean St. fronting Sydney Harbor.
A miners' monument located on Main St. pays tribute to the men who perished at the local collieries, including 22 miners who were killed by a runaway man-rake (train) in 1938.
The town's most visible artifact is the red sandstone town hall, built on a downtown corner in 1904 as a federal post office. The building was renovated in 1989 and registered as a provincial heritage property.
Another Sydney Mines landmark is Gowrie House, a two-storey, wooden mansion on Shore Rd. Overlooking the harbor, Gowrie House was built in 1834 by Samuel Archibald whose family and descendants maintained residence there for a century and a half. Marble fireplaces, extensive grounds and outbuildings reflected the prosperity of the family. Gowrie House is now a four-star country inn, offering accommodations and gourmet meals year-round. In 1990, international recording artist and performer Rita MacNeil filmed a television special at Gowrie House.
Discovery and paleoenvironmental implications of a Zoophycos-group trace fossil (?Echinospira) from the Middle Pennsylvanian Sydney mines formation of Nova Scotia.
Mar 01, 2006; ABSTRACT The discovery of a Zoophycos-group trace fossil questionably attributed to Echinospira is reported from the Middle...
Marion Barclay-MacKay was inducted by Cape Breton presbytery in February as minister of St. Andrew's, Sydney Mines, N.S.(People & Places)
May 01, 2009; [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Caption: Marion Barclay-MacKay was inducted by Cape Breton presbytery in February as minister of St....
A Macroneuropteris scheuchzeri tree preserved in growth position in the Middle Pennsylvanian Sydney Mines Formation, Nova Scotia, Canada.(Report)
Jan 01, 2009; ABSTRACT Fossil plants preserved in growth position provide important insights into the architecture and ecology of ancient...
Latest Mid-Pennsylvanian Tree-Fern Forests in Retrograding Coastal Plain Deposits, Sydney Mines Formation, Nova Scotia, Canada
Jan 01, 2006; Abstract: A latest Mid-Pennsylvanian (early Cantabrian) tree-fern forest is reported from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The...