Great Bras d’Or Channel from the Seal Island Bridge

Great Bras d’Or Channel from the Seal Island Bridge
Photo 4 of 25: Great Bras d’Or Channel from the Seal Island Bridge
Taken 2003 July 17 from the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 105) on the Seal Island Bridge
GPS 46°13.98?'N 60°29.46?'W

The year this photo was taken, the Seal Island Bridge was being renovated and traffic in the middle of the bridge was one lane, causing one lane of traffic to be stopped on the bridge waiting for the other lane to pass. Luckily, I was in the lane that was waiting, so I took the opportunity to snap this photo through the open front door window of my car; it is otherwise not a very good idea to try to take photos from the bridge, which is usually very busy. Unfortunately, a good part of the bridge’s railing and my front seat also ended up in the photo, leading, after cropping these distractions out, to the nonstandard dimensions seen here.

This view of the Great Bras d’Or Channel looking south shows off the mountains that line the channel on its western side, which merge into Kellys Mountain at the Seal Island Bridge. Baddeck lies beyond the end of the mountains seen here at the center of the photo. Boularderie Island is at the left; while its height is considerably less than that of the mountains on the west side, it still rises a considerable distance above the water, as this photo shows. Kempt Head is the southern tip of the island, which is not visible here.

As I was writing this commentary, I wondered about the provenance of the name Boularderie; it is not a name I have encountered outside of Cape Breton. While its form attests to a French origin, other French-appearing names in fact come from Amerindian names (e.g., Tracadie (from the Mi’kmaq Telagadik ‘a camping place’ according to this web page; from the Mi’kmaq akatiek “place” according to this Wikipedia page; and from the Mi’kmaq Tulakadik ‘camping ground’ according to Place Names of Atlantic Canada [p.144]). Neither Larousse’s Dictionnaire des noms de lieux de France [Paris, 1963] nor Le petit Robert des noms propres (ISBN 2-85036-692-7) lists the name, but a quick Google search turned up this web site, where we learn that it comes from Louis-Simon de St Aubin le Poupet, chevalier (”knight”) de la Boularderie, to whom, during the heyday of the French at Louisbourg on what was then named the Isle Royale in contemporary spelling, King Louis XV granted Boularderie Island in 1721 together with final authority over all administrative and judicial matters involving it. The uncommonness of the name is attested by looking at the results Google returns on a search for Boularderie; of the 40,200 items it found, the first 100 items (and all others I randomly spot checked) refer to Cape Breton’s Boularderie Island. Restricting the results to French-only helped a bit; from this web site, for example, we learn that in 1652 a Boularderie manor house in Val-d’Izé (near Saumur in France) belonged to the family Chevalier, sieurs (”lords”) de la Trotinée. So, it appears that this name does indeed have a French heritage.