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Cape Breton University (CBU), formerly the "University College of Cape Breton" (UCCB), is a Canadianmarker university in the Cape Breton Regional Municipalitymarker, near Sydneymarker, Nova Scotiamarker. Primarily an undergraduate institution, CBU is the only university located in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It has an enrollment of around 3,500 students.


CBU traces its roots to 1951 when the "St. Francis Xavier University Sydney Campus", also referred to as "St. Mary's Junior College" (XJC), was opened in downtown Sydney as a satellite campus of St. Francis Xavier Universitymarker. Growth during the 1950s saw several buildings opened on this site.

In 1968 the "Nova Scotia Eastern Institute of Technology" (NSEIT) opened in 1968 on the Sydney-Glace Baymarker Highway, immediately east of Sydney. This institution focused on business technology and trades and its development was largely enabled by federal and provincial funding at a time when the coal and steel industries in Industrial Cape Breton were facing serious challenges.

In 1974, the first university college in Canada was established on Cape Breton Islandmarker in Nova Scotiamarker through an amalgamation of the Nova Scotia Eastern Institute of Technology and Xavier Junior College. The Xavier Junior College was affiliated previously with St Francis Xavier University. The University College of Cape Breton became a public degree-granting institution, and retained technical and vocational programs from the former Nova Scotia Eastern Institute of Technology. Cape Breton University was established by the Cape Breton University Act


In the early 1970s, the provincial and federal governments, as well as the local community, recognized the need for developing an institution of higher learning in the economically challenged industrial Cape Breton region. With assistance from the Cape Breton Development Corporation, XJC and NSEIT were merged into the "College of Cape Breton" (CCB) in June 1974.

Buildings and Features

Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island
In 1980, the former NSEIT campus was expanded as the institution consolidated at this location. The provincial government granted CCB a charter for granting university degrees in 1982 which saw the institution rename itself as the "University College of Cape Breton" (UCCB). UCCB united diverse education streams such as the liberal arts and sciences with technological diplomas and trades. A major expansion was undertaken for the 1987 Canada Winter Games which saw extensive sports facilities built at the campus. During the 1990s, several campus expansions saw residences, a "Student, Culture, and Heritage Centre", and various academic and research facilities constructed. Student enrollment over the same period also roughly doubled in numbers.

Infamously, CBU also saw a metre-high decorative wall made of local stone built around the campus perimeter after the 1993 federal election. This is reportedly a legacy of funding from federal Minister of Public Works David Dingwall. Both students and locals alike refer to it as the "Ding Wall", in a play on the former minister's surname.


In 2004, UCCB undertook several studies on how to better position the institution locally, regionally and nationally. One recommendation arising out of these studies was to rename the institution to remove the reference to "college", in recognition of its transformation over the past two decades into primarily a university. This process led to UCCB transferring its trades and technology programs to the Nova Scotia Community Collegemarker (NSCC) which operated its "Marconi Campus" on the UCCB campus.

On September 23, 2004 the university's board of governors voted unanimously to rename the institution "Breton University", however the proposed name received stiff opposition from a number of groups in the institution and local community over the removal of the word "Cape" from the proposed new name, thus the name "Cape Breton University" was adopted instead. The name change became official through the University College of Cape Breton Act (amended) on May 19, 2005.

See also


All facts, unless otherwise stated, are from Cape Breton University's web site

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