Àros na Mara – Lunch & Learn

CC In Association With Logos 2017p EN

Saturday, October 7,
11am -1 pm

Join us where beauty, science, and culture meet and learn about one of our province’s greatest indigenous resources, Canada’s Inland Sea the Bras d’Or Lake. Enjoy local offerings of soup, biscuits and apple crisp for dessert! You may want to arrive a bit early to check out the community market on site. This meal will be served prior to the Celtic Colours Concert in Christmas Island, only 5 minutes away.

This event will be held at Iona Port, Great Trail Centre.
Price $10 per person

For Lunch and Learn tickets contact Ann Marie 725-2253, Murdell 725-2348, Sharon 725-2177,or email: ccbcvi@gmail.com  Tickets for sale until October 5.
Sponsored by: Central Cape Breton Community Ventures and Celtic Colours 2017.

Weekly Farmers Market at the Iona Port



                Join us at the Iona Port for our weekly 
                       Farmers Market from 12-3pm

This week’s vendors include fresh locally grown vegetables, photography, preserves, baked good and more!

In addition to the market we are also having a flea. Have a few things to sell? Want to book a table?  Tables are $10.00.

For more information on how to become a vendor or reserve a flea market table, contact, ionaportmarket@gmail.com

See you on Sundays in Iona!

Thank you!

19477768_1334083443355120_5163404441187538582_oWe would like to express our thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors, presenters, musicians and guest speakers for your generosity in making

our 3rd World Oceans Day and the opening of the Bras d’Or Lake Water Route, a part of the Great Trail and the Access Point at Iona Port a success. Without your help this would not have been possible. Central Cape Breton Community Ventures Inc. – Àros na Mara

Happy Canada 150!

World Oceans Day – “Our Oceans, Our Future”

As we work to finalize the details of World Oceans Day 2017, we have the following theme in mind for the weekend – “Our Oceans, Our Future”. Below is listed the schedule of events planned to date for June 8-11th:

June 8, Thursday: 
Frolic n’ Folk Pub – Bras d’Or Trivia – 8 pm


June 9, Friday:

Iona Legion – Supper and Entertainment – time tbd


June 10, Saturday

Iona Port –  Market at the wharf – time tbd

Highland Village – Biadh is Baile | Highland Fare – 10am – 4pm

Frolic n’Folk Pub – Céilidh from 5- 8 pm

Brach 124 Royal Canadian Legion  – Dance with music by band Full Circle – time 8-12


June 11, Sunday

12-4:30 – World Oceans Day, Iona Port and St. Columba Church Centre to include: food, children’s activities, guest speaker, and demonstrations.

Including: Cape Breton University displays and touch tank, Cape Breastoners Dragonboat Team, Cape Breton Antique and Custom Car Club, North River Kayak Tours, Tai Chi on the beach , Victoria County Bookmobile, Fly Fishing demonstration

Highland Village will be open – regular hours – for related demonstrations

Grand Narrows Café will be open – time/activities tbd




World Oceans Day 2017

We are in the planning stages for World Oceans Day!
June 8 – 11, 2017


Keep an eye out for updates in the near future!

Central Cape Breton



A quick glance of a map of Cape Breton Island from the perspective of a spiralling bald eagle reveals the geographical uniqueness of the Island. Its exterior coastline is surrounded by the salty waters of the western North Atlantic, while its interior land mass is dominated by a resplendent, brackish sea, called the Bras d’ Or Lake.  The Lake displays itself not unlike a giant octopus with some of its meandering tentacles groping seaward toward the Atlantic in the form of two natural passages and a man-made canal.

This oases is composed of two picturesque reservoirs comprising some 1100 Sq. Km. The ‘Big Lake’ tothe southward is approximately 35 km in diameter while the other smaller ‘Northern Basin’ forms a dogleg to the westward known as St. Patrick’s Channel that helps delineate the Washabuck Peninsula, a native name depictingits Mi’kmaq origins and influences.

These natural reservoirs are linked at the island’s centre by the Barra Strait (CaolasnamBarrach), a deep, narrow, body of churlish water, named for the for the Isle of Barrain Scotland, the original home of so many of the transplanted Gaels that settled here and upon the opposite shore at Grand Narrows, more than two centuries ago and whose descendants continue to dwell along the shores of its scenic watershed. St. Patrick’s Channel,bit-by-bit tapers into the Strait of Julia (CaolasnamSìlis) at Little Narrows before anchoring itself at its most western point with Whycocomagh Bay.

It’s thestriking combination of the Bras d’ Or Lake waters with the captivating community of Iona situated on the Barra Strait, which constitutes this remarkable marine component of the Trans Canada Trail (TCT). Situated at the island’s centre the community of Iona provides a strategic,vivid, and historicstopping point for the adventuresomekayaker.

Harbouring 200 + years of history, the Iona community manifests itspast through the Baile nan Gàidheal | Highland Village, a 43 acre folk museum – a short kilometre from the Iona Port facilities –which depictsand displays the inspiring culture and history of the Highland Scot in Scotland and in Nova Scotia, through its Gaelic-speaking animators within  the museum’s period buildings. Next door one can relax and savour fare, beverage, and entertainment, at the Frolic & Folk pub and inn, even while appreciating the stunning vista overlooking the matchless landscape. For those partial to a chocolate treat of various sorts, visit Jill’s Chocolates, produced, fashioned, and crafted, at the same site.

Across the road, children from the extended community absorb and delight in the cleverly situated P- 12, Rankin School of the Narrows, overlooking the vivid Barra Strait. The community is served by a diligent firefighters’ department, a Post Office, a B&B, two churches, as well as an exceptional sandy beach great for swimming activities, asit ties the nearbyshady provincial picnic park to the community’s Port wharf, with its own wash-rooms, change-rooms, and boating storage amenities. All-in-all, Iona is a worthy community for the adventurous to reconnoitre and savour,along this marine leg of the TCT. Come and relish Nova Scotia’s Masterpiece – Cape Breton Island – from its Centre, at Iona. You’ll want to revisit regularly.



Bras d’Or Lake Talks 2016

Crew members of HMCS Moncton taking part in Bras d’Or Lake Talks

After a successful launch of World Oceans Day in 2015 we are pleased to announce the addition of the Bras d’ Or Lake TALKS. This forum is for interested parties to gather to share stories, possibilities and affects about the health of the World’s Oceans, the well-being of our coastal communities, and what enhanced role the Bras d’Or Lake, Science, Research, Education and can and should play in addressing these concerns.


Beauty, Science & Culture meet at the Barra Strait in the

The Bras d’Or Lake estuary and its watershed, while nearly pristine compared to many other coastal ecosystems, is changing at an accelerating rate as we enter the second decade of the 21st Century. 
Water temperatures have been typically warmer, and winter ice coverage dramatically reduced, over the past three decades. Shorelines have also experienced greater erosion from storm impacts (e.g. Spectacle Island, off the Washabuck Peninsula in St. Patrick’s Channel, is now mostly submerged).

Other variations, with less obvious links to global climate change, include the arrivals of invasive species around the turn of the last century, such as the Green Crab and MSX parasite, which wiped out much of the oyster production in the estuary and largely removed the quintessential Bras d’Or Lake oyster from the menus of North America’s finer restaurants. 
Economic activity associated with oyster farming has been greatly diminished, and recovery is a slow process. Similar patterns of decline have also been evident in other fisheries and economic activities in the Bras d’Or Biosphere (now a Reserve in UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program).

We cannot place a lid over these waters to exempt them from species invasions, ocean acidification or further effects of global warming. But we CAN enhance our resilience to such changes, by taking the time and making the effort to better understand and communicate the changing status of this inland sea and its many coastal communities.
While doing so, it will be crucial to learn from local efforts in ecosystem-based science and community-based management, as well as from those in other jurisdictions also adapting to climate change.
The 2016 Bras d’Or TALKS, envisioned as the first in an ongoing series of dialogues amongst the people of the Bras d’Or Biosphere, will feature stories of evolution and adaption in terms of its ecosystems, communities and cultures since the end of the last ice age through the periods of colonization.



We were pleased to have a list of distinguished panelists which included:
– Fred Baechler (Hydrogeologist, EXP)
– Dan Christmas (Senior Advisor, Membertou)
– Jim Foulds (Chair, Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere Reserve Association)
– Lori Kennedy (Co-Founder, Louisbourg Seafoods)

Our Keynote Speaker: Matthew McCandless
Founding chief executive of International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD) -Experimental Lakes Area. Matt’s primary responsibilities are with the administration and operation of the world’s only whole-ecosystem freshwater research facility. This involves oversight of research and field station operations, administration, human resources, and fundraising.

Jim Foulds speaking at Bras d’ Or Lake Talks

A marine biologist could not find a better location …


A marine biologist could not find a better location to study marine ecosystems than the Bras d’Or Lakes. Their unique qualities provide unmatched research possibilities. A wide variety of habitats are found here, from shallow eel grass beds, through rocky bottoms to a trench with depths only surpassed off the continental shelf. Studies within most branches of the ecological sciences can be accommodated here.

Resident fish species such as cod, afford the opportunity to document a single population from egg to adult; such a study not being possible on the Scotian Shelf, an open system where aggregations are mostly transient and can only be quantified over periods of hours or at best, a few days.

Nowhere else in the world can biota representative of 30 degrees of latitude be found within a span of a few kilometers. These range from so-called Virginian enclave species (more at home off the southern US Atlantic coast) to Arctic relict species which do not normally occur south of latitude 64oN (now marooned in the cold depths of St. Andrews Channel since the last ice age).

Also from a practical point of view the Lakes are large enough to be reasonably representative of the outside ocean yet small enough to be sampled with little difficulty. Small boats can be used and waters are rarely too rough to conduct sampling.

One would be hard put to envision a better site for a marine laboratory.


Blog Contributor: Tim Lambert

World Oceans Day 2015



Myrna’s Oceans Day Thank You Poem – 2015

From 20 years of dreaming
20 years of showing up
20 years of trying
Unwilling to give up
Throw in the towel
Say that’s enough
From the first responders on the job
Before I even arrived
Knew what had to happen
To keep this organized

To the men who hauled the tables
Got the chairs all organized
To the tea and coffee perked and piping
To the musicians, fingers flying
At 1 PM Sylvia
Burned the sweet grass over our heads
To bring blessing to The Creator
And clear our hearts and heads

The Gillis girls and Sharon
Prepping four hours on the eve
Putting together a chowder
That would sell out on a breeze
Then another day of showing up
No overtime for these

To have the Navy show up
To share with us some time
Toured four hundred fifty plus
So happy they arrived

The weather man came through
We could have used a good south wind
But here’s where we begin
Can’t cover everything

The divers doing a cleanup
Found so little they just smiled
The speakers and educators
Can only fuel the fire

To all the people who showed up
To learn and see and know,
To the kids who gave their posters
They too, already know

That what we have is priceless
We know it in our bones
This is where our heart is
This is our home

Written By:
Myrna Pointkoski Christmas Island,NS.
In honour of Aros na Mara World Oceans Day June 6/7 2015 – Iona NS

World Oceans Day 2016

World Oceans Day, held every June, is the United Nations-recognized day of ocean celebration and action. People all over our blue planet organize celebrations and community events to support actions to protect the oceans.

This year, the global theme is Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet. Accelerating changes in the Global climate and economy have direct and dynamic effects on the health of the World’s oceans and people. As an inland sea, the Bras d’ Or Lake can be both a model of ecosystem-based management for ocean health, and an indicator for monitoring the health of the worlds’ oceans.

The World Oceans Day event in Iona Nova Scotia June 2106, will explore what communities, institutions and residents around the Bras d’Or estuary can do to increase resilience in the face of global climate changes and economic pressures.

Since increasing resiliency to these forces requires a solid understanding of the science of the ecosystems and the practice of management, this year’s event will examine the roles that Research, Education and Institutions such as the proposed Àros na Mara Marine Science and Energy Center can play in supporting community resiliency.