Travel and Leisure magazine's 2011 World's Best Awards has voted Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island as one of the best islands to visit, beating out the Great Barrier Reef Islands and Sicily.
Cape Breton Island was voted the number one island destination in Canada and the continental United States and ranked number three worldwide.
Travel and Leisure readers rated islands on five characteristics: natural attractions, activities and sights, restaurants and food, people, and value.
In a press release Percy Paris, Nova Scotia Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism said, "All Nova Scotians should be very proud to receive this prestigious award. Cape Breton Island is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, renowned for its scenic views, and warm and friendly people."
"Tourism operators throughout the island, and the province, are working hard to provide visitors with amazing experiences that are helping to build our industry."
Cape Breton Island is part of the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. Although physically separated from the Nova Scotia peninsula by the Strait of Canso, it is artificially connected to mainland Nova Scotia by the 1,385 m (4,544 ft) long rock-fill Canso Causeway.
Cape Breton is steeped in history, however the turn of the 20th century saw Cape Breton Island at the forefront of scientific achievement with the now-famous activities launched by inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Guglielmo Marconi.
Following his successful invention of the telephone and being relatively wealthy, Bell acquired land near Baddeck in 1885, largely due to surroundings reminiscent of his early years in Scotland. He established a summer estate complete with research laboratories, working with deaf people, including Helen Keller, and continued to invent. Baddeck would be the site of his experiments with hydrofoil technologies as well as the Aerial Experiment Association, financed by his wife, which saw the first powered flight in the British Empire when the AEA Silver Dart took off from the ice-covered waters of Bras d'Or Lake. Bell also built the forerunner to the iron lung and he experimented with breeding sheep.
Marconi's contributions to Cape Breton Island were somewhat less than Bell's as he merely used the island's geography to his advantage in transmitting the first North American trans-Atlantic radio message from a station constructed at Table Head in Glace Bay to a receiving station at Poldhu in Cornwall, England.
Today, Cape Breton is a top destination for not only Nova Scotians, but international vacationers.
Mary Tulle, CEO of Destination Cape Breton said in the press release, "We are delighted that Cape Breton Island has been voted the number one island destination in continental United States and Canada by this very influential publication. We all know that being number one means we are the best in North America! And to be voted number three in the world is just amazing. This is a direct compliment to all of those in Cape Breton who strive to make it a world-class tourism destination."