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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Port Morien in Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia — The Canadian Atlantic
 

Morien Bay

 
 
Morien Bay Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 21, 2019
1. Morien Bay Marker
Inscription.  The history of the village of Port Morien, rooted as it was in mining and fishing, is tightly entwined with Morien Bay itself.

The Mi'kmaq name was "Noolektooch", (Noo-lack-took) meaning "place jammed with ice", or "bivouacking place". Early French maps call this bay "Baie de Morienne", possibly named by the Portuguese as a version of St. Martins.

In 1768, British mapmaker and surveyor Samuel Holland called this place Granby Bay. Shortly after, possibly due to legend that a Sydney resident found his wayward cow here, the place became known as Cow Bay.

By 1895, after a public meeting in the village, and a requested provincial statute, the name Cow Bay was officially changed to Port Morien.

Coal wharves were located on both sides of the bay. A steam engine was assembled in South Head from components that were shipped across the bay. There was a wharf built and repaired many times at South Head to ship coal from the mine located there. When the mine closed, the steam engine was taken back across the bay on the ice. There was another mine at False Bay, close to Wadden's Cove.

A coal vessel, a brigantine
Marker detail: The <i>Amazon</i> — The original name of the <i>Mary Celeste</i> image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: The Amazon — The original name of the Mary Celeste
The famous ghost ship found drifting off the Azores in 1872. This painting was done in 1861.
called the Amazon, was wrecked on the shores of Morien Bay by a gale in 1868. After undergoing repairs, it was re-floated and renamed the Mary Celeste, which later became a world-famous ghost ship after being found abandoned near the Azores in 1872.

Morien Bay bore the brunt of the Great August Gale of 1873. Estimates of up to 37 vessels were wrecked on her shores after a hurricane pounded the shores of Cape Breton for two days.

Primitive weather forecasting and exposure to east and northeast gales led to the demise of dozens of ships on the slate shores of Morien Bay.

The beauty of this bay is contrasted by an American coal boat skipper’s description. He called it "an audacious beastly hole for taking in a load of coal".

The bay and the communities surrounding it were enveloped with smoke through the summer of 1935. Much of South Head was completely destroyed by a forest fire.

(photo captions)
1. 19th Century coal shipping and fishing in Cow Bay.
2. The Amazon — The original name of the Mary Celeste — the famous ghost ship found drifting off the Azores in 1872. This painting was done in 1861.
3. Morien Dock 1970s.
4. Aerial view of Morien Bay.
5. Morien Harbor.
 
Erected by Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation,
Marker detail: Morien Dock • 1970s image. Click for full size.
3. Marker detail: Morien Dock • 1970s
Cape Breton County Economic Development Authority, and the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
 
Location. 46° 7.797′ N, 59° 52.551′ W. Marker is in Port Morien, Nova Scotia, in Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Marker is on Marconi Trail (Nova Scotia Route 255) 0.2 kilometers south of Birch Grove Road, on the right when traveling north. Marker is located beside the highway on the south side of Morien Cliffs Municipal Park, overlooking Morien Bay. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Port Morien, Nova Scotia B1B 1V9, Canada. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Fishery in Port Morien (here, next to this marker); Gowrie and North Atlantic Collieries (here, next to this marker); Flint Island Light Station (here, next to this marker); Morien's Legacy (approx. half a kilometer away); Morien Institutions (approx. half a kilometer away); Morien Businesses of the Past (approx. half a kilometer away); First Boy Scout Troop in North America (approx. 1.1 kilometers away); The First Coal Workings in North America (approx. 1.1 kilometers away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Port Morien.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Port Morien Interpretive Walking Tour
 
Also see . . .  Mary Celeste (Wikipedia). Mary Celeste
Marker detail: Aerial view of Morien Bay image. Click for full size.
4. Marker detail: Aerial view of Morien Bay
was built in Spencer's Island, Nova Scotia, and launched under British registration as Amazon in 1861. She was transferred to American ownership and registration in 1868, when she acquired her new name. Thereafter she sailed uneventfully until her 1872 voyage, when she was discovered adrift and deserted in the Atlantic Ocean off the Azores Islands on December 4, 1872. The Canadian brigantine Dei Gratia found her in a disheveled but seaworthy condition under partial sail and with her lifeboat missing. At the salvage hearings in Gibraltar following her recovery, the court's officers considered various possibilities of foul play, including mutiny by Mary Celeste's crew, piracy, and conspiracy to carry out insurance or salvage fraud. (Submitted on January 3, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. DisastersWaterways & Vessels
 
Marker detail: Morien Harbor image. Click for full size.
5. Marker detail: Morien Harbor
Morien Bay Marker<br>(<i>rightmost of 4 markers overlooking Morien Bay</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 21, 2019
6. Morien Bay Marker
(rightmost of 4 markers overlooking Morien Bay)
Morien Harbor and Bay image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 21, 2019
7. Morien Harbor and Bay
 

More. Search the internet for Morien Bay.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 3, 2020. This page originally submitted on January 2, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 37 times since then. Photos:   1. submitted on January 2, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on January 3, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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