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Big Pond

Big Pond village, on the eastern shore of the Bras d’Or Lakes, is a tiny place with a rich heritage and one big attraction: Rita’s Tea Room.

Inside a renovated one-room schoolhouse, built in 1939, you’ll find light meals, fluffy scones, sweet treats and – most importantly – a wide range of teas.

The tea room is run by Rita MacNeil, a homegrown singer famous across Canada for her beautiful voice and folk songs, often depicting life on Cape Breton island.

It offers the perfect break from driving and while you’re sipping your cup of tea, you can admire the walls, which are decorated with Rita’s awards and albums.

Big Pond also has a sandy beach, a boat ramp and is home to many birds, including the majestic bald eagle and the tiny chickadee. Underfoot, watch for lady’s slippers and mayflowers, Nova Scotia’s provincial flower.

Just across from the beach, MacNeil’s Diner is where the locals go when they don’t want to cook during the summer.

This quiet atmosphere is broken in the middle of July, when the village holds its Summer Festival – a week full of toe-tapping jigs and reels that’s been going for over 30 years. If you plan to stay in Big Pond during the festival, book well ahead of time. It’s very popular.

Directions: Big Pond is on Route 4, about halfway between Sydney and St. Peters. Rita’s Tea Room is directly on the main road. You can’t miss it.
Opening Hours:
Rita’s Tearoom is open June 1 to October 30, from 10am to 6pm for the gift shop. The dining room opens from
June 28 to October 15, 10am to 6pm.
Website: Rita’s Tea Room