Bras D'Or Lake

Bras d'Or Lake ( /brəˈdɔr/) is an inland sea, or large body of partially fresh/ salt water in the centre of Cape Breton Island in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. Bras d'Or Lake is sometimes referred to as the Bras d'Or Lakes or the Bras d'Or Lakes system; however, its official geographic name is Bras d'Or Lake as it is a singular entity. Canadian author and yachtsman Silver Donald Cameron describes Bras d'Or Lake as "A basin ringed by indigo hills laced with marble. Islands within a sea inside an island." The lake is connected to the North Atlantic by natural channels, the Great Bras d'Or Channel north of Boularderie Island and the Little Bras d'Or Channel to south of Boularderie Island, connect the northeastern arm of the lake to the Cabot Strait. The Bras d'Or is also connected to Atlantic Ocean via the Strait of Canso by means of a lock canal completed in 1869—the St. Peters Canal, at the southern tip of the lake.

There are several competing explanations of the origin of the name "Bras d'Or". The most popular is that the first Europeans to discover and subsequently settle the area were French, naming the lake Bras d'Or meaning "arm of gold"; this likely referring to the sun's rays reflected upon its waters. However, on the maps of 1872 and earlier, the Lake is named "Le Lac de Labrador," (or more simply "Labrador") and this is more likely the true derivation of the present name. The literal meaning of Labrador is "Laborer." In a paper prepared by the late Dr. Patterson for the Nova Scotia Historical Society he says he believed the name Bras d'Or came from the Breton form of Bras 'd'eau arm of water or of the sea.

The Mi'kmaq Nation named it Pitu'pok, roughly translated as "long salt water".

With an area of approximately 1,099 square kilometres, the extents of Bras d'Or Lake measures roughly 100 km in length and 50 km in width. Surrounded almost entirely by high hills and low mountains, the shape of the lake is dominated by the Washabuck Peninsula in the centre-west, Boularderie Island in the northeast, and a large peninsula extending from the centre-east dominated by the Boisdale Hills. The Washabuck Peninsula and Boisdale Hills divide the lake into northern and southern basins, linked by the 1 km wide Barra Strait. The maximum depth of Bras d'Or Lake of 287 metres is found in the St. Andrews Channel.

This area was designated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2011.

Read more about Bras D'Or Lake:  Subdivisions, Rivers, Wildlife, Boating, Lakeside Development, Mi'kmaq Culture, Historic Role As A Research Center and First Bell Labs, Flight of The Silver Dart

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