Getting to and around Cape BretoMap showing Cape Breton relative to eastern seaboardn

Sydney is located at the northeastern tip of Cape Breton Island, which is reachable by road from Canada and the US (it is connected to mainland Nova Scotia by a causeway). There are several ways to reach the island:

Air transport

Image of Sydney, NS, airportSydney/J.A. Douglas McCurdy Airport is located 12 minutes from downtown Sydney and about 2 minutes from the conference venue at Cape Breton University. Regular flights from WestJet, Air Canada, and Air Saint Pierre arrive and depart daily. Both WestJet and Air Canada have flights daily via Toronto, and Air Canada has multiple additional daily flights from Halifax.

Given the proximity of the airport to the conference venue (CBU), if you are arriving on one of the later Air Canada flights on the first day of the conference (Friday, 26th), it may be advisable to go straight to the venue and check into your hotel later, rather than traveling to downtown and then back out to the venue. Locked storage space for bags will be available for anyone wishing to take this option.

Stanfield International Airport (Halifax) is located about 30 minutes outside of Halifax and is a four hour drive from Sydney. Most international flights go via Stanfield International Airport. Ground transportation is available to Sydney by bus or shuttle. Booking flights directly into Sydney from Canadian destinations is not much more expensive than flying into Halifax. However, flights from the US can often be several hundred dollars less expensive into Halifax, and so those on a budget may wish to look into the option of flying to Halifax and taking ground transportation from there.

Another option, for those wishing to explore the area, is to book a flight into J.A. Douglas McCurdy Airport  and out of the Stanfield International Airport (or vice versa). Drop off and pick up rental car service is available at both airports, but may involve an additional fee.

The Greater Moncton International Airport and Charlottetown Airport are located a similar distance from Sydney as the Stanfield International Airport (Halifax), but are logistically more complicated to get to Sydney from. Budget travellers may wish to check fares into these airports for comparison.

Ground Transport

  • Car: The simplest way to reach Sydney is by driving. Access to a car provides opportunity to explore the rest of the province and surrounding area before or after the conference. Various discounts are available to encourage people to stick around. Cars can be rented at any of the regional airports, but during the summer months they can  prohibitively expensive. If you plan on flying and renting a car, consider using the conference Facebook page to find travel partners.Welcome sign at Canso Causeway
  • Ferry: No ferry is required to get to Cape Breton from the mainland, but those coming from Newfoundland or the eastern United States have the option of taking a ferry part of the way. Car ferries run regularly from Port aux Basques and Argentia to North Sydney (30 mins drive from Sydney). A new fast ferry service is scheduled to begin connecting Portland, Maine, to Yarmouth, NS, this summer.
  • Train: Train service extends as far as Halifax, NS, and connects to the rest of Canada and the US. From Halifax to Sydney requires taking a bus, shuttle, or car.
  • Bus: Sydney is served by Maritime Bus, which provides daily bus service to Sydney and throughout the Maritimes (and by connection to the rest of North America).
  • Shuttle: A large number of companies operate private shuttle service between downtown Halifax/Halifax Stanfield Internal Airport and Sydney. These companies can be found by Goolging “Cape Breton Shuttle”. They all offer similar levels of service at similar prices, but have different schedules. They are generally comparable with the bus in terms of cost and comfort, but offer greater convenience as they run multiple times a day. Space must be arranged in advance by phoning them directly.


Co-organizer (Cape Breton University)

Sydney, Nova Scotia

Phone: 902.563.2844

Co-organizer (Joggins Fossil Institute)

Joggins, Nova Scotia

Phone: 902.251.2727

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