Cape Breton, incorporated as a regional municipality in 1995, population 97 398 (2011c), 102 250 (2006c). The Cape Breton Regional Municipality is located on the eastern extremity of CAPE BRETON ISLAND. Effective 1 August 1995, the city of SYDNEY, the towns of DOMINION, GLACE BAY, Louisbourg, NEW WATERFORD, NORTH SYDNEY, SYDNEY MINES, the municipality of the County of Cape Breton and their boards and commissions ceased to exist as separate entities and were amalgamated into the new regional municipality. With an economy based traditionally on coal, steel and fishing, the regional municipality is struggling to find alternatives.
The amalgamation addresses inefficiencies brought on by the area's steadily declining population (less in 1996 than in 1951) and widely dispersed settlement patterns, which were historically located near coal pitheads. The move to unitary government is intended to end the duplication of services (hospitals, police and fire departments) and to limit tax levies. A single elected council, based in Sydney, consists of 1 mayor and 20 councillors. This new administrative structure is designed to ensure that the formerly independent communities retain strong voices in planning, and possibly make officials more accountable.
Within the municipality's boundaries there are many points of interest, notably, Fortress LOUISBOURG, the Glace Bay Miners' Museum and Marconi National Historic Site (location of the first transatlantic wireless TELEGRAPH station in 1902). Several museums and architectural points of interest include Cossit House and Jost House (both 1787), and the recently renovated Savoy Theatre (1927) in Glace Bay. Sydney's excellent deep-water port hosts visiting cruise ships during the tourist season.