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The emergence of Celtic music on the world stage has led to a focus on Inverness County, Cape Breton as a major repository of pure Scottish culture. Acadian and First Nations communities complement and enrich traditional Cape Breton Island music, dance, and folklore.
The need to preserve and promote this unique and diverse cultural heritage brought community groups together to envision a facility which would be appropriate for the performance, production, and training requirements of the region. The result is Strathspey Place, located at the Allan J. MacEachen International Academic & Cultural Centre along with Dalbrae Academy.
Strathspey Place is located on the Ceilidh Trail on western Cape Breton Island nestled among the rolling hills of Inverness County. The area was settled some 200 years ago by emigrants from Scotland who brought their music, their dance, and their ancient language, known locally as “The Gaelic”, to the region. The descendants of these original Highland settlers have kept the culture alive and still speak the authentic Scottish Gaelic of their ancestors.
By the 1980’s, the number of Cape Bretoners who claimed Gaelic as their first language had shrunk from the 75,000 reported at the beginning of the century, to less than 1,000. This decline coincided, ironically, with a growing interest worldwide in genealogy and a renewed appreciation of cultural heritage. Forty million Americans claimed Celtic roots with similar percentages cited for the British Isles, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
The realization that a distinctive Gaelic culture was in danger of extinction mobilized community leaders, teachers and parents and resulted in a revival of interest in the language and its inclusion as a high school course in Mabou Consolidated School – the first of its kind in North America. At the same time, the emergence of Celtic music stars such as the Rankin Family, John Allan Cameron, Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, and Buddy MacMaster focused the world’s attention on this region of Nova Scotia as the source of rich Scottish culture.
For more information on Strathspey Place or to see a schedule of upcoming events, you can visit their website at www.strathspeyplace.com . You can also call the box office, Monday through Friday 1-4PM with any questions or comments you may have regarding Strathspey Place.