The Margaree Salmon Museum is dedicated to the material cultures and history of the sport fishery on the world renowned Margaree River, a designated Canadian Heritage River for he past two decades. Fishers from near and far, whose stories of the “big one” are told and retold with the singular passion of dedicated fly fishers, return to the river year after year, sometimes over generations. 


Amongst the numerous angling artifacts found at the Margaree Salmon Museum, you’ll also find the impressive Lemire collection. The Lemire collection sits in its own striking display case designed, pro bono, by noted United States architect, Allen Moore, of Massachusetts and fabricated from locally sourced wood by neighbourhood craftsman, Brian Peters.


There are flies, lines, reels, rods, pictures, stories and more. For instance, there are stories and illustrations of John Cosseboom who regularly camped on the Margaree’s banks and fished its pristine waters. It’s reported it was here he developed the Green Cosseboom fly, a mainstay for salmon fishers particularly in Atlantic Canada. Then there are the accounts of Dr. Edwards A. Park, an admirable fisherman, distinguished pediatrician and researcher, from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Park, while refusing compensation, provided specialized medical care to local citizens while a summer resident in the area. The knowledge embodied in this little place is endless, ripe for investigation, well written, displayed and documented for posterity.

For an online gallery of historical photos, click here…

The Margaree Salmon Museum
The Margaree Salmon Museum

“Cape Breton offers a surprisingly large number of wonderful, quirky museums. My favourite by far was the Margaree Salmon Museum. Situated in a small white house near the Margaree River, just off the stretch of the Cabot Trail linking Baddeck and Margaree Harbour…I was drawn to a hand-painted mural depicting the salmon’s life cycle: here are the adults swimming up the Margaree River, there are the fertile eggs, and there they are hatching into alevins, which will travel downriver and grow into fry, parr, smolt, and eventually into adult oceanfaring salmon. “They’re fortunate,” the curator said. “Atlantic salmon don’t die when they spawn. They come back year after year.”

– The High Road on Cape Breton
Alan Burdick, The New York Times


The Rossville School which would house the museum when it first opened, was actually the second educational facility to occupy the site. The Rossville School took on students from the Big Brook School Section which closed due to dwindling class sizes in 1918.


The building had originally been sold by the municipality to a community group, before being sold again to the Margaree Angler’s Association for $25 in 1963. The Museum opened in 1965 with a number of artifacts to showcase. In 1966, it was decided that the museum should be open to coincide with salmon season.


 See some photos here.


The 1978 Winter Works program saw members of the community construct an additional wing designed by Ronald Lelièvre adjacent to the old schoolhouse building.

The Margaree Salmon Museum
The Margaree Salmon Museum

Fun Facts

Many local men served as guides on the Margaree River, assisting the sports fishermen and developing friendships forged along the river. Among them were guides like Duncan MacKenzie, known for his wry wit. The MSM has a collection of his stories.