photo: Hills near St. Ann's by Stacey MacLean.
St. Ann’s, originally called Mchagadichk in the Mi’kmaq language, was first colonized by the French in the late 1600s, when Captain Daniel of Dieppe built a fort there and named it St. Ann’s. Some of the best known settlers in the area included Reverend Norman MacLeod and his followers, who arrived from Sutherlandshire, Scotland in 1820. This group established the first Presbyterian congregation in Cape Breton. They remained there for thirty years, until Rev. MacLeod decided to seek out better land and a milder climate in New Zealand. Over a period of about 10 years, nearly 800 of MacLeod’s original settlers made the journey to New Zealand.
Today, St. Ann’s is the site of the Nova Scotia Gaelic College, which offers courses in traditional Scottish Gaelic arts and language.