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Volume XLIV, Number 1 Winter/Spring - Hiver/Printemps (2015)

“A Fine, Hardy, Good-Looking Race of People”: Travel Writers, Tourism Promoters, and the Highland Scots Identity on Cape Breton Island, 1829-1920

July 16, 2015


Based on an examination of travel narratives and promotional publications, this article suggests that the romantic image of Cape Breton Island as a bastion of traditional Highland culture can be traced to the 1870s with the dawning of American antimodernism. American publications continued to feature somewhat condescending portraits of a people “far removed from the modern age,” but they also expressed admiration for a way of life that was tied to tradition and close to nature. This longing, followed by the re-emergence of the traditional image of the heroic Highland warrior, occurred well before Premier Angus L. Macdonald began his “tartanizing” campaign for the province as a whole in the 1930s.