Margaree Salmon Museum

"Cape Breton offers a surprisingly large number of wonderful, quirky museums. My favorite by far was the Margaree Salmon Museum."
Alan Burdick, The New York Times

Location: 60 East Big Intervale Road, North East Margaree

Website: https://www.margareesalmonmuseum.ca

For many who come to Margaree more than once, the Margaree Salmon Museum becomes one of their designated stops. Now over forty years old, this one-time, one-room schoolhouse is now a jewel of a museum about all things fishy - Margaree River salmon and trout, that is. For those visiting our Salmon Museum for the first time, it is hard not to be bowled over by its quiet grace; no government-issue displays, churned out by the museum industry; instead, lovingly homemade labels in a flowing, calligraphic hand an an atmosphere from another era. 

The curator, Ms. Frances Hart, who has been here for most of the museum's forty-years, is a great person to share the treasure trove of photos, wall displays, fishing gear, gorgeous hand-tied flies, an aquarium with young salmon and trout and anything of interest donated  by devoted visitors and local people alike. and the museum's reputation has grown beyond our borders; in 1982 it received a special commendation from the American Association of State and Local History. The executor director of Nova Scotia Museums has said it's "one of the finest museums in Nova Scotia. It has a clear focus on its mandate, a fine collection, and a genuine orientation to public service." It also reflects the lifestyle and economics of the people of Margaree, and the heritage of fishing on the Margaree River.

 

You'll marvel (then shiver) at the beautiful rod and leather case donated by the wife of a retired British Forces spy, who happened to teach German Air Force Marshall Hermann Goering the finer points of fly casting with this equipment, seeking information which might have helped the Allied cause in World War II. Unusual items like this, and the love of those who retire every year, could be part of the reason the Salmon Museum was cited by the New York Times, as a great museum of Cape Breton. Some might venture it's one of the best homegrown museums anywhere. 

"Cape Breton offers a surprisingly large number of wonderful, quirky museums. My favorite by far was the Margaree Salmon Museum. Situated in a small white house near the Margaree River, just off the stretch of the Cabot Trail linking Baddeck and Margaree Harbour... I was drawn to a hand-painted mural depicting the salmon's life cycle: here are the adults swimming up the Margaree River, there are the fertile eggs, and there they are hatching into alevins, which will travel downriver and grow into fry, parr, smelt and eventually into adult oceanfaring salmon. "They're fortunate," the curator said. "Atlantic salmon don't die when they spawn. They come back year after year." - The High Road on Cape Breton, Alan Burdick, The New York Times