Cape Breton University

Coordinates: 46°10′20.26″N 60°5′35.35″W / 46.1722944°N 60.0931528°W / 46.1722944; -60.0931528

Cape Breton University (CBU) is a public, co-ed, primarily undergraduate university located in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada. It is the only post-secondary degree-granting institution within the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and on Cape Breton Island. The university is enabled by the Cape Breton University Act passed by the Nova Scotia House of Assembly.[6] Prior to this, CBU was enabled by the University College of Cape Breton Act (amended).[6] The University College of Cape Breton's Coat of Arms were registered with the Canadian Heraldic Authority on May 27, 1995.[7]

Cape Breton University
UCCB CoatOfArms.svg
Other name
Former names
Xavier Junior College (1951)
Nova Scotia Eastern Institute of Technology (1968)
College of Cape Breton (1974)
University College of Cape Breton (1982)[1]
MottoTheid Díchioll Air Thoiseach (Scottish Gaelic)
Motto in English
Perseverance Will Triumph
Established1951 as Xavier Junior College
1968 as NSEIT
1974 as College Of Cape Breton
1982 as University College of Cape Breton
2005 as Cape Breton University
Academic affiliation
ChancellorAnnette Verschuren
PresidentDavid Dingwall
Academic staff
227[3] (as of March 2019)
Administrative staff
225[4] (as of March 2019)
Students5,511 (2019)[5]
not available
P.O. Box 5300 Sydney, Nova Scotia
, ,
Canada B1P 6L2
ColoursOrange, green, black, gold
AthleticsCBU Capers
Sporting affiliations
U Sports, AUS

CBU is an ordinary (full) member of Universities Canada (UC), the Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU), the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), and Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan).


In 1951, the St. Francis Xavier University Sydney Campus was opened as a satellite campus of St. Francis Xavier University in the Sydney Lyceum, situated in the central business district of Sydney, Nova Scotia. It was also referred to as "St. Francis Xavier Junior College" or "Xavier Junior College" (XJC), and colloquially as "Little X." The building was reduced to three stories due to a fire, which caused the fourth story to collapse.[8] The College underwent an expansion in 1960, which included a new arts building along with classrooms in Holy Angels High School and Navy League buildings.[9] In 1963 the institution was renamed Xavier College.

In 1955, Mother St. Margaret of Scotland (Sister Margaret Beaton) came to Cape Breton to become the first full librarian of Xavier Junior College.[10] During her time at the College, she recognized that documents of historical significance to Cape Breton Island were being lost. In response, she began to grow the collection of the College library by collecting books and archival material specific to the culture and history of Cape Breton Island and the various cultural groups (e.g. Mi’kmaq, Italian, Polish, Lebanese, Gaelic) which inhabited it. In 1957 she named this collection Cape Bretoniana.[11] In 1966 she began overseeing the collection on a full-time basis.[12] In 1975, Cape Bretoniana was expanded and branched into two main divisions: an Archive and institute Library and the Centre for Ethnic Studies, Folklore and the Social and Cultural History of Cape Breton Island. Sister Beaton died in a car accident that same year. The collection and additional institutions built around it were renamed the Beaton Institute in her honor.

In the early 1960s, Harry Boadmore emigrated from England to Canada, where he met and later married Elizabeth “Liz” Boardmore (nee MacDonald). Both later joined Xavier Junior College as English teachers in 1966.[13] Within that year, they collaborated with the college and community to produce a stage version of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, which was presented at the Vogue Theatre in Sydney, and a version of The Collection by Harold Pinter.[14] The Boardmores went on the Xavier College Drama Society and host drama festivals on the top floor of the Sydney Lyceum, where Xavier Junior College was hosted at the time. This would later become the Xavier College Theatre.[15]

In 1968 the Nova Scotia Eastern Institute of Technology (NSEIT) opened on Grand Lake Road several kiometres east of the Sydney city limits. This institution focused on business technology and trades. It was created in response to serious challenges faced by the coal and steel industries in Industrial Cape Breton with the help of provincial and federal funding.[16] In 1974, NSEIT and Xavier College were officially amalgamated into the College of Cape Breton (CCB).[17] The college was consolidated at the location of the former NSEIT and began expanding.

Between 1978 and 1982 several new buildings were added to the campus including a campus centre, the Sullivan Field House, an art gallery, and the current location of the Beaton Institute. In 1979, the Xavier College Drama Society moved its operations to the CCB with the construction of a new playhouse as part of college expansions. This would go on to be named the Boardmore Playhouse in honor of Liz and Harry Boardmore in 1990.[18]

The main sign for the university, located out in front of the Culture and Heritage Centre.

In 1982, the Government of Nova Scotia granted CCB a charter for granting university degrees and the institution renamed itself as the University College of Cape Breton (UCCB). UCCB was the first university college in Canada[19] and united diverse education streams such as the liberal arts and sciences with technological and vocational diploma programs.[1]

A major expansion for the 1987 Canada Winter Games included the construction of sports facilities built at the campus.[20] During the 1990s several campus expansions were built, including the Culture and Heritage Centre as well as academic and research facilities.[21]

As a result of a 2004 study the decision was made to rename the institution to reflect its transformation over the previous two decades into primarily a university level institution. This process led to UCCB transferring its trades and technology programs to the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) which operated its "Marconi Campus" (the former Adult Vocational Training Centre - AVTC)[22] which is located immediately next to the CBU Grand Lake Road campus.[23][24]

On September 23, 2004 the university's Board of Governors voted unanimously to rename the institution Breton University; however, the proposed name was opposed by a number of groups in the institution and local community over the removal of the word "Cape" from the name, thus the name Cape Breton University was adopted instead. The name change became official through the University College of Cape Breton Act (amended) which received Royal Assent on May 19, 2005.[25]


The Verschuren Centre for Sustainability & the Environment, an associated not-for-profit research facility focused on green technologies.
The front of the Marvin Harvey Building, which houses the Student Life Centre, the Jennifer Keeping AccessAbility Centre, and the Registrar's Office.
The Technology Enterprise Centre, with houses several science research laboratories.
The Shannon School of Business.
The Culture & Heritage Centre, which houses the President's Office, the Great Hall, the CBU Art Gallery, the Beaton Institute, and the Centre for Cape Breton Studies.

The Beaton Institute, housed at CBU, is the second largest public archive in Nova Scotia. Sister Margaret Beaton of Scotland, recognizing that many documents of significance to Cape Breton were being lost to neglect during her career as librarian at Xavier Junior College, began collecting these documents back in 1957. Preceded by Cape Bretoniana, the Beaton Institute operates as a regional archive from and about Cape Breton Island's history, society, politics, economy, health, people, places, and events. The building is 17,000 square feet and includes a reading room, vault, work room, and several offices and specialized rooms. The collection includes paper records, photographs, film, video, audio materials, books, maps, plans, and microfilms, housing 3,000 manuscript collections, 60,000 images, 2,500 sound recordings, 1,500 video cassettes and film reels, 1,500 reference books, 2,000 maps and plans. Materials in the collection reflect the Mi'kmaq, Jewish, Acadian, Ukrainian, African Nova Scotian, Lithuanian, Polish, and Italian communities of Cape Breton, along with a collection of Gaelic materials.

CBU's library is located adjacent to the Campus Center, along with the main cafeteria, Art Gallery 1, and Boardmore Theatre.[26] The library features twelve special collections, apart from the main collection, including a CBU thesis repository, the Bernier LGBT Collection, the Fortress of Louisbourg Collection, and the F.A.C.E. Collection which provides access to the publications and contributions of the CBU faculty. There is also has a collection of Cape Breton Post and Chronicle Herald publications on microfilm, which can be read on the microfilm readers located on the first floor. CBU Library has access to Novanet Search, Novanet Classic, and WorldCat, allowing students to search for publications from libraries all across Nova Scotia and the world. Interlibrary loaning services are available to access publications and journal articles not held in the CBU Library's collection or accessible through CBU's electronic resources.

The university continued to expand with major campus additions initiated in 2009. As a collaborative player, CBU became a lead partner in the establishment of the Cape Breton Health Recreation Complex. The $10 million project is a newly opened health and recreation community facility situated on the CBU campus. It provides CBU students and the community with access to a track and field operation[27] and year-round indoor soccer facilities as well as a fitness centre.

CBU is growing in terms or residence and enhanced food services through the construction of Harriss Hall, a new student residence and dining hall, in September 2010, giving the campus a total of four residences.[28] Harriss Hall is also the new location for residence mail services, replacing MacDonald, and holds the office of the Residence Life Coordinator. With this new addition, the residence halls now offer meal service and living space for over 550 students. Recently, each dorm, along with the off-campus students, have been assigned colors and animals to represent them in residence competitions. The four residences on campus include Cabot Residence, MacDonald Residence, Harriss Hall, and Alumni Hall. MacDonald offers single and double rooms, Harriss offers single suites, Cabot offers four-bedroom apartments, and Alumni offers five-bedroom apartments along with two-bedroom dorms.

In 2010, funded by both public and private investment, construction began on the Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy & Environment (CSEE). The purpose of this centre is to plan and carry out research about new sources of energy and ways of increasing environmental sustainability on the east coast of Canada.[29] In 2012, the new Shannon School of Business building opened and became the new home of the Shannon School of Business faculty and programs.[28]

The university built a three-turbine, 5.4-megawatt wind farm off campus, at a cost of $17.6 million in partnership with Natural Forces Technologies, with the aim of producing enough electricity to offset its carbon dioxine emissions. The project took advantage of a government program which paid a premium rate per kilowatt for energy from small-scale green energy facilities. The farm is expected to generate approximately $2.1 million in annual revenue.[30]


University rankings
Global rankings
Canadian rankings
Maclean's Undergrad[31]19
Maclean's Reputation[32]46


Cape Breton University serves more than 5,500 full-time and part-time students from local, regional and national locations.[5] CBU is also the academic home of over 2,000 international students representing more than 50 countries.[33]


Cape Breton University has ranked 19th in the MacLean's Primarily Undergraduate university rankings since 2018[34] and ranked 46th in its 2021 reputational survey.[35] The university ranked 6th overall in their 2021 student satisfaction survey.[36]


Cape Breton University is accredited under the Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU),[37] Universities Canada (UC),[38] Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan),[39] and the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE).[40] Additionally, all four tracks of the Nursing program are accredited by the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN)[41] and two Engineering programs accredited by the Canadian Council of Technicians and Technologists (CCTT).[42]

Academic StructureEdit

Virtually all Cape Breton University degree, diploma and certificate programs offer a transition-to-work component through co-op education, work placements, internships and work-study programs.[28] The university is composed of the following schools and affiliated colleges:

School of Arts and Social SciencesEdit

Dean: Dr. Andrew Parnaby

The School of Arts and Social Sciences offers 15 Bachelor of Arts (BA) options, 12 Bachelor of Arts Community Studies (BACS) options, 1 diploma option, and 9 certificate options. It also includes a minor in Gaelic.[43] Both the BA and BACS include an Honours option.

In 2016, the university began offering an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts and Science in Environment (BASE) degree. [44]

School of Education and HealthEdit

Dean: Dr. Patrick Howard (Interim)

The School of Education and Health offers two Master of Education degrees along with a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree, four Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSCN) options, and a transfer Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition with the University of Prince Edward Island, Mount Saint Vincent University and St. Francis Xavier University). It also offers three diploma options in Education.

Shannon School of BusinessEdit

Dean: Dr. George Karaphillis

The Shannon School of Business offers one Master of Business Administration with a focus in Community Economic Development (MBA CED) along with 9 Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree options. Three certificate options are also offered.

School of Science and TechnologyEdit

Dean: Richard Pierrynowski, MSc

The School of Science and Technology offers four Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree options, five Bachelor of Science Community Studies (BSCS) degree options, seven Bachelor of Engineering Technology (BET) degree options, and eight Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) transfer degree options with Dalhousie University. It also offers two certificates in Engineering. Both the BSc and BSCS include an Honours option.

Unama'ki CollegeEdit

Associate Vice-President: Stephen Augustine, MA

In 2010, Unama'ki College was founded as an offshoot of the school specializing in Mi'kmaq history, culture and education. As of 2013, it has some 250 aboriginal students. Its library holds 1,500 books on aboriginal issues and 7,000 documents.[45]

The College includes the following facilities:

  • Mi'kmaq Resource Centre (MRC)
  • L'nui'sultimkeweyo'kom Mi'kmaq Language Lab
  • Indigenous Science Research Commons
  • Indigenous Students Commons

The Department of Indigenous Studies offers disciplines in Mi’kmaq Studies and Integrative Science.[46]

Scholarships and bursariesEdit

CBU offers nine major entrance scholarships based on the student's average from high school. Students with a 90% average or greater are eligible for scholarships ranging in amount from $10,000 (Orpha Thayer-Scott) to $24,000 (Chancellor's) over a four-year period. Other entrance scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,000 a year are also available.

Students taking a minimum of 24 credits are eligible for in-course scholarships the following year depending on their academic performance. Unlike in-course bursaries, which are also available, in-course scholarships do not require an application.

A new Work-Study Bursary Program is also available to provide students with financial need the opportunity for on-campus employment

The Government of Canada sponsors an Aboriginal Bursaries Search Tool that lists over 680 scholarships, bursaries, and other incentives offered by governments, universities, and industry to support Aboriginal post-secondary participation. Cape Breton University scholarships for Aboriginal, First Nations and Métis students include: Earth Tech/CBCL Award – Entrance Award; Verschuren Family Entrance Scholarship; Wood, Walker Foundation Aboriginal Awards Entrance Scholarship; Bank of Montreal Aboriginal Business Administration Student Scholarship


Associate Vice-President, Academic & Research: Dr. Tanya Brann-Barrett

CBU is a small comprehensive university that performs over $3 million in externally funded research and employed over 65 students as researchers in 2011. The Office of Research and Graduate Studies publishes two annual research publication titled Research Matters, as well as a separate student Research Matters magazine. Research chairs at CBU include:[47]

  • Tier 1 & Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs
  • Viola Desmond Chairs
    • Social Justice (Dr. Graham Reynolds)
  • Purdy Crawford Chairs
  • University Research Chair
  • Industrial Research Chair
  • Former Tier 1 & Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs
  • Former Industrial Research Chairs
    • Green Mining (Dr. Alicia Oickle)
    • Mine Water Management (Dr. Christian Wolkersdorfer)
    • Environmental Remediation (Dr. Ken Oakes)
  • Former Purdy Crawford Chairs
    • Aboriginal Business Studies (Dr. Keith Brown, Dr. Janice Esther Tulk)

Additionally, Dr. Bruce Hatcher is the Director of the Bras D'Or Institute.

Projects are funded by all federal granting councils (CFI, NSRIT, NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR, AIF projects).

The President's Award for Excellence in Research is an annual award which recognizes members of the CBU Faculty who demonstrate excellence in research and scholarship. From 2012, the winners have been:

  • 2012: Dr. Richard MacKinnon, Professor of Folklore
  • 2013: Dr. Katherine Covell, Professor of Psychology
  • 2014: Dr. David Mullan, Professor of History
  • 2015: Dr. Peter MacIntyre, Professor of Psychology
  • 2016: Dr. Adango Miadonye, Professor of Chemistry
  • 2017: Dr. Edward Barre, Professor of Nutrition
  • 2018: Dr. Stewart McCann, Professor of Psychology

Students' unionEdit

The Cape Breton University Students' Union provides services such as the Emergency Bursary Fund, funding and management of societies, health and dental plans, Food Bank, Women's Centre, Pride and Ally Centre, Multicultural Hub, Capers Helping Capers, The Orange Initiative, The Pit (campus bar), Caper Convenience (store), and free legal service. The CBUSU's main focus is advocacy on behalf of its members, and it is also the largest employer of students on the CBU campus.

Student Representative CouncilEdit

The SRC acts as the board of directors for the Union. It is a body of students elected to represent the various demographics of CBU, including the different schools within it. They meet on a regular basis to vote on motions put before the SRC by representatives or CBU students.

The current Executive includes:[48]

  • President: Amrinder Singh
  • Executive Vice-President: Tom Joseph Scaria
  • Vice-President Finance & Operations: Ryan Magee
  • Vice-President Promotions: Haeley Langlois

Clubs and societiesEdit

The CBU Students' Union list includes the following active societies:[49]

Aboriginal Society Dance Society Graduate Society Nursing Society Society Public Health Society WUSC Society
African Caribbean Society Education Society Hospitality & Tourism Society Parks Canada Society Rotaract Society
Biology Society ENACTUS Society[50] Indian Society Political Science Society Society of Petroleum Engineers
Chemistry Society Environmental Society Language Society Pre-Med Society Theatre Society
Chess Society Engineering Society Math Society Programming Society Women in Business Society
Christian Fellowship Gaming Society Muslim Society Psychology Society Women's Caper Rugby Society


The Caper Times is a newspaper owned collectively by the students of Cape Breton University and published by the Publishing Board of the Caper Times. It prints 2,000 copies on a fortnightly basis and is distributed on campus and to 25 points across the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and southern Victoria County. The newspaper has been autonomous from the Cape Breton University Students' Union since March 1, 2013. It is a member of the Canadian University Press. The newspaper also publishes an electronic monthly newsletter, CampusLink, which is tailored specifically for Cape Breton University students and faculty. The current Editor-in-Chief is Dipanshu Grover.


The dome is host to an indoor soccer field. The outdoor field also features a soccer field, along with a track. The building is home to CBU's on-campus gym.

CBU is represented in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) association by the CBU Capers. The Capers' varsity program includes four teams: men's and women's soccer and basketball teams.[51] All sports teams wear uniforms with the Caper logo and mascot along with the school colour (orange).

Notable alumniEdit

Of the over 15,000 CBU alumni across the world, some prominent names include:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Cape Breton University". The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  2. ^ MacInnis, Gordon. "Non-consolidated Financial Statements of Cape Breton University, 2018" (PDF). Cape Breton University. Cape Breton University. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Faculty". Cape Breton University. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  4. ^ "Staff". Cape Breton University. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d "2019-2020 Preliminary Survey of Enrolments" (PDF). Association of Atlantic Universities. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Bill 160, University College of Cape Breton Act". Nova Scotia Legislature.
  7. ^ "University College of Cape Breton". The Governor General of Canada. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Morgan, Robert J. (2007). Perseverance: The Story of Cape Breton's University College. Cape Breton Island: Cape Breton University Press. ISBN 978-0-920336-99-1.
  23. ^ Shannon, Chris (March 26, 2018). "Consultant chosen to study Marconi campus move". Cape Breton Post. Archived from the original on March 27, 2018.
  24. ^ Shannon, Chris (February 6, 2018). "From bust to boom?". Cape Breton Post. Archived from the original on June 26, 2018.
  25. ^
  26. ^ Ken Chisholm (May 8, 2018). "Ken Chisholm: Busy days on Sydney stages". Cape Breton Post.
  27. ^ "Highland Region championships open Friday at Cape Breton University". Cape Breton Post, T.J. Colello. May 24, 2018.
  28. ^ a b c "Cape Breton University". Archived from the original on 2014-08-19. Retrieved 2014-08-21.
  29. ^ "Food-related projects at Cape Breton University receiving research funding". Cape Breton Post, Elizabeth Patterson, May 16, 2018
  30. ^ "Cape Breton U goes carbon-neutral with its own wind farm". University Affairs, SHARON ASCHAIEK | FEB 03 2016
  31. ^ "Canada's best Primarily Undergraduate universities: Rankings 2021". Maclean's. Rogers Media. 8 October 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  32. ^ "Canada's best universities by reputation: Rankings 2021". Maclean's. Rogers Media. 8 October 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^ "Cape Breton University: student tips for surviving life on campus". Maclean's Magazine, by Bhreagh MacDonald, Christine Gwynn, Avery Tuck, Bridget Baldwin, May 2, 2018
  44. ^
  45. ^ Beswick, Truro (2013-10-16). "Efforts gain strength across N.S. to ensure future for Mi'kmaq language". The Chronicle Herald. Halifax, NS. Retrieved 2013-10-24.
  46. ^ "Capping off their studies". Cape Breton Post, May 12, 2018
  47. ^ "Research Chairs". Cape Breton University. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^ "Developing Entrepreneurial Spirit With CBU's Enactus Team". Cape Breton University. Cape Breton University. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  51. ^ "Cape Breton University men’s soccer team tops national rankings for first time". Cape Breton Post, Oct 31, 2017
  52. ^ "Notable Graduates". Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  53. ^ "David Dingwall". Cape Breton University. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  54. ^ E. Kaye Fulton; John Demont (21 March 2014). "David Dingwall (Profile)". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Retrieved 18 November 2020. Dingwall's name is gold. Students at the University College of Cape Breton, where he studied business, ...
  55. ^ "Massie new technical director for Soccer Cape Breton | Cape Breton Post". Retrieved 2019-02-03.

External linksEdit