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Cape Breton Museums Network
The Whitney Pier Historical Museum

located in one of the most colourful areas of Sydney,
in Cape Breton County...

WPHM logo.jpg

A very significant community museum...
dedicated to the past, present and future of Whitney Pier.
Operated by the Whitney Pier Historical Society (incorp. 1988).

WPHM picture.jpg

Areas of interest:

Cultural history, ethnology,
commemorative, religious,
sports, trades (industrial),
decorative arts

Surface area:

1,620 sq. ft. (exhibits)

Description, purpose:

The aim of the Whitney Pier Historical Society is to preserve the history of Whitney Pier and the diverse, rich culture that makes this part of Sydney very unique.
Housed in what was once a Jewish Synagogue, the WPHS operates a unique museum dedicated to a community that developed unlike any other in Canada.

Built around the Steel Plant, "the "Pier" became home to people from all parts of the globe who came seeking a new life. They brought with them the riches of deeply rooted cultures that still enrich our lives today. It is this diversity that we try to capture and display.

To obtain the video "Making Steel", or the book "Italian Lives":

Highlights of the Museum:


Anyone from the Pier who has said "remember when", is likely to find tangible evidence of their memories in the many pictures, newspaper clippings, and artifacts we have gathered over the years.
Faces and events from times past evoke a revival of a sense of community in all our visitors, regardless of where they now reside. We are able to present to those who do not know us well, a chronicle of our daily lives both past and present. It is a "People Place" where you are encouraged to spend lots of time browsing. Most folks return more than once because there's always something new to see or discover.

Other interesting facts:

The Cape Breton Multicultural Association started here. It was later taken over by Halifax, to become the Nova Scotia Multicultural Association we know today.

Curator Gary Gallivan is an avid collector of classic postcards. (The collection and study of postcards is known as deltiology.)
See the Cape Breton Post article, Oct. 20, 2001, p. 29.

Whitney Pier has an interesting religious history. Holy Ghost Ukrainian and St. Mary's Polish are the only churches of their denomination East of Montreal; St. Phillip's African Orthodox is the only one of its kind in Canada. Also of historical significance: Holy Redeemer Church (1901).

Special activities or events:

Heritage Teas in July and August,
every Tuesday, 2:00 -3:30 p.m. - Live music!

Workshops / Educational Programs:

School visits, and school tours.

Contact information:

The Whitney Pier Historical Museum
and The Whitney Pier Historical Society

88 Mount Pleasant Street
Sydney, Nova Scotia B1N 2G1

Tel. (902) 564-9819

The collections:

Photographs, original paintings, newspaper clippings, various objects depicting everyday life and special events, as well as the ethnic communities of Whitney Pier.

interior 2.jpg

Staff Members (for the Museum
and the Historical Society):

Gary Gallivan, Curator of the WPHM
Charlie Neville, President of the WPHS

Monica Brooms, Frank Dunn, Sandra Dunn,
Gordon Kiley, Simon Gillis, John Huk,
Duncan MacKey, Posey McKinnon, Margaret Roberts

To join the Whitney Pier Historical Society:

Anyone interested in the Pier
is welcome to become a member.
The Society meets the 2nd Thursday of every month, at 7 p.m. in the Museum.
Membership is $5.00 per year.

For sale at the Museum:

From the Pier, Dear!.jpg

Hasty notes that have sketches of familiar buildings
(some of which
are no longer standing),

and the book "From the Pier, Dear! - Images of a Multicultural Community", by Elizabeth Beaton
and Mary Keating.

interior 3.jpg

Open: from mid-May to late September
Mon. - Sat., 9 am - 5 pm
(Off hours / season by appointment)

Admission: free - Donations are welcome.

Chairlift - Washrooms - Close to restaurants

How to get there
(from Sydney, Glace Bay or New Waterford):


CBMN December 2001