Community Events: Highland Village Day in Iona

Highland village, living museum, living history

Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Do you enjoy historical recreations and Celtic music? Then you would love Highland Village Day in Iona, Cape Breton! This annual event is one of Cape Breton’s most popular outdoor concerts every summer. At our church in Sydney Mines, we highly recommend it.

Here’s everything you need to know about Highland Village Day on August 3, 2019.

What is the Highland Village?

First opened in 1962, Highland Village is a living history museum that celebrates Gaelic heritage in Nova Scotia. The museum is located on a 43-acre property overlooking the Bras D’Or Lakes in central Cape Breton. It is open from June 1 to October 14. Each day, costumed interpreters reenact the daily lives of Scottish settlers throughout the grounds and 11 historic buildings. 

You can stroll through a meadow, listen to interpreters sing Gaelic songs, watch a blacksmith forge nails, and enjoy daily ceilidhs at the museum. For a take-home souvenir, you can visit the museum gift shop and browse a wide selection of Gaelic-themed products and books! Because the museum is perched atop a hill, you’ll also love the incredible view of the Bras D’Or Lakes.

How did Highland Village Day get started?

On August 4, 1962, the Highland Village Museum opened its doors for the first time. After countless hours of labour and planning, the dream became a reality. “To mark the occasion an outdoor Scottish concert was held on site featuring traditional music, song and dance. This festival, called Highland Village Day was a great success. It brought together people of all ages to celebrate and preserve the Scottish Gaelic culture in Nova Scotia,” writes the Highland Village Museum on their event page.

For more than 50 years, Capers have enjoyed the annual Highland Village Day concert each year. Famous performers such as J. P. Cormier, the Barra MacNeils, Great Big Sea, and more have graced its stage. This year, visitors can expect to see fiddlers, step dancers, pipers, Highland dancers, Gaelic singers, and more! It will be a fun-filled event for the whole family.

Must-Know Information for Visitors

For adult visitors, admission is $15 per person. And children 12 and under get in free! The concert runs from 2:00-6:00 pm on Saturday afternoon. If you’re looking for a snack, full canteen services will be available on site.

To get the full Highland Village experience, we recommend starting your visit in the morning and visiting the museum first. The museum opens at 10 am each day. That way, you can tour the village before the heat of the day, leave for lunch, and come back for the concert at 2 pm.

Driving Directions: You can read full driving directions at the Highland Village website here

Let’s Chat:

Have you ever visited the Highland Village before? If so, what was your favourite part of this living museum? At our church in Sydney Mines, we love museums. Share your thoughts in the comment section!


Are you interested in historical events? Join the friendly church family of Northside Baptist Church on Sundays at 11:00 am. 

For more information, call 902-304-4707 or email  
Claudine Broussard is a Cape Breton based musician, the social media director of, and coauthor of Seeking Jesus: Stepping Into a Life of Bold Surrender, Freedom, and Deep Joy.