The Chamber’s origins date back to 1911, when it was incorporated as the Sydney Board of Trade with a membership of 38. The Industrial Cape Breton Board of Trade resulted from the 1969 merger of the boards of trade of Glace Bay, New Waterford, Dominion, Sydney, North Sydney, Sydney Mines, and Louisbourg. This unified communities and provided a stronger voice for Cape Breton professionals going forward. In 2002, the Industrial Cape Breton Board of Trade became the Sydney and Area Chamber of Commerce, in order to modernize our image and bring the organization in line with other business organizations in North America.
The Chamber has played a significant role in a number of initiatives across Cape Breton Island. From eliminating long-distance telephone charges to the construction of the Canso Causeway, the chamber has practiced advocacy through a variety of projects. The Chamber of Commerce led the charge in implementing the Cape Breton Tourist Association, now known as Destination Cape Breton and was also the lead proponent of the “Think Cape Breton First” campaign. The Chamber continues to encourage local consumerism and act as a link between businesses and their community.
An economy that once relied on coal and steel is now expanding into a diverse range of fields. The Chamber is enthusiastic about the room our community has to grow and is prepared to test the limits of innovation. Our island has been breaking records for tourism in recent years. In 2017 visitation at multiple parks and historical sites rose as high as 39% from previous years. Trade services are in high demand, likely due to recent expansions, renovations, and new establishments joining the CBRM. The Port of Sydney has proven that it is invested in the prosperity of the district and will undoubtedly foster a stronger economy. Deepwater offshore oil and gas exploration as well as renewable energy in the form of geothermal, hydro, and wind, all contribute to the island. The Chamber aims to harness this momentum as the CBRM continues to grow.
Today, you can find The Chamber of Commerce office at 275 Charlotte Street in Downtown Sydney, but the organization represents all areas of the CBRM. The Chamber staff works hard to ensure that the business community is adequately represented and we endorse positive growth in small and large business. From running events that provide network development and learning opportunities for our members, to advocating on behalf of business to overcome barriers and to realize success, the Chamber of Commerce maintains a member-focused vision and strives to support the growth of our economy.