Cape Smokey gondola offers spectacular views of Cape Breton Highlands
A much-anticipated attraction in the Cape Breton Highlands is now open for business.
The new gondola at Cape Smokey in Ingonish Beach, N.S., has been a few years in the making. Once you buy a ticket, you step in to one of the 27 accessible cabins for a unique way to ride to the summit of Smokey. Even though the gondola only opened a short time ago, it's quickly created a bit of a buzz.
"Well, it's the first one in Atlantic Canada", said Martin Kejval, CEO of Cape Smokey Holdings Ltd. "The weekends have been steady. We have been getting about 300, 500 people a day."
As you move up the mountain, the views of the surrounding Cape Breton Highlands keep getting better. There are panoramic views of the mountain and ocean. The gondola is open just in time for iconic views of the Cape Breton Highlands to start exploding into autumn colour.
"They are completely breathtaking, even in the summer. And I think the fall will be significantly more spectacular, with all the colours dancing around," said Kejval.
When you get to the top, it is another experience unto itself. There is a place to sit and relax and enjoy the views, along with amenities including a refreshment stand.
"Breathtaking. Something else for sure," said one couple visiting from Alberta. "It was fantastic. I went out of my comfort zone coming up, and it was well worth it," added Pat and Mary Kelly of New York State.
The gondola is also expected to be a hit during the coming ski season. There are big plans to try and turn Cape Smokey into a four-season destination. Officials say while the newest way up the mountain is attracting a lot of attention, it's only the beginning.
"We're going to be moving on to the tree walk up top. We are remodeling the lodge and other amenities," Kejval said. "And hopefully adding other attractions to this place, kind of turning it into truly a green Disneyland."
Construction on the tree walk is set to start in 2022, but for now, the gondola is your best bet at a bird's eye view.