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Grow With Us - Own a Business or Property in Downtown Sydney!


Downtown Sydney is home to unique shops, restaurants, cafes, professional services, entertainment, and much more. We have an amazing theatre located in the middle of our downtown core, which hosts shows from all over and features incredible productions that highlight our local talent.


Cape Breton is home to the world’s largest fiddle, located at the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion. Take a stroll along our beautiful and serene boardwalk, which can begin or end at the fiddle, and reveal shorelines that are absolutely awe-inspiring.


In just a few short years, Charlotte Street will be newly renovated, encompassed by wider plaza-style sidewalks, street trees, and seating areas. As if that wasn’t enough, a state of the art building that stretches from the edge of our waterfront up to Charlotte Street will soon house the new NSCC Marconi Campus. This will attract a substantial amount of students to Downtown Sydney, making it a great place to start a business!


Benefits of Owning a Business in Downtown Sydney


Sydney Downtown Development Association Activities


If your business is located within the boundaries of the Sydney Downtown Development Association (see map below), you are automatically a member! A member is someone who owns commercially assessed properties within the boundaries, and any commercial tenant in that building. There is a levy paid through property taxes that is collected by the CBRM and distributed to the SDDA to carry out our mandate, promoting commercial activity.


Some of the activities you could benefit from are:


  • Project: Makeover Downtown Sydney

  • Downtown Dollars Program

  • Marketing Activities

  • Advocacy Work

  • Beautification and Placemaking

  • Various Events and Festivals

  • Business Development Programs and Services




The Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion can now dock several cruise ships at once, providing us with an opportunity to welcome thousands of visitors by sea, just a few steps from Downtown Sydney. There are several hotels located in our downtown core with breathtaking views and friendly staff who are ready to make your stay unforgettable. Additionally, we have many banks, shops, restaurants, and other amenities located within close proximity, making the walkability of Downtown Sydney unparalleled.  We have welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors over the years, and hope to welcome many more!




Downtown Sydney is chock-full of parking areas, making it easy to leave your vehicle behind and enjoy the pedestrian friendly nature of our downtown core. In addition to sidewalk parking, the Sydney Downtown Development Association manages a permit parking lot and we encourage you to contact us to consult about paid parking spaces for staff or customers.


Research & Partners in Economic Development


The Sydney Downtown Development Association is fortunate enough to have the support of several key partners. In an effort to make Downtown Sydney a more vibrant and exciting destination, we have built these partnerships to assist property owners by providing key information that we hope will assist you in working with us as we build a stronger downtown.


In 2020, the National Trust for Canada, Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Cape Breton Partnership, and Sydney Downtown Development Association, in partnership with Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, commissioned a Retail Market Study for Downtown Sydney, which was completed by FBM Architecture Interior Design Planning. 


The report identified current and future spending trends, demographics, and global trends regarding downtowns. To bolster this information, a public survey was launched in 2021 that garnered over 1,500 individual responses. Citizens were asked about their shopping habits, what would entice them to spend more time downtown, what drives them to shop locally, etc. We also asked if they would be interested in owning a business in Downtown Sydney. Key results of the study and survey are summarized in the following pages, and a more detailed report is available upon request. 


These results, along with other resources and research, have informed our strategy to formulate the best business mix and achieve our vision for Downtown Sydney. Along with our friends at Cape Breton Partnership, we are hopeful for the future and look forward to working with you to build a strong business plan backed by data and supported by the community. 


We would like to extend an open invitation to contact our offices with any questions or comments you may have by emailing either: 

Michelle Wilson: or Tyler Mattheis:

Open A Business

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“Having the Cape Breton Farmers’ Market located in Downtown Sydney is integral for our growth and sustainability. Farmers’ Markets need to be located in the heart of the community so everyone can come together. This has been our goal for over 8 years and we are so excited to be making our new permanent home exactly where we need to be.”


“I chose to open Get Nauti Gifts and Home Décor in Downtown Sydney because of location, location, location … We are nestled next to Sydney’s busiest restaurant and a beautiful view of Sydney’s waterfront, giving us the perfect recipe for success. Downtown Sydney is a warm, inviting place to do business with a tremendous amount of local support and shop goers, businesses work together to create an incredible synergy downtown.”


“Taking over Doktor Luke’s was an easy decision because its location, in the heat of Downtown Sydney, has everything we could ask for. We are surrounded by like-minded small businesses, a host of offices, both governmental and private, and we have the benefit of drawing from the thousands of tourists who visit downtown each year. Along with all that, the area boasts the main public transit hub in the CBRM allowing easy access for students, seniors, and everyone in-between. Doktor Luke’s looks forward to growing along with Downtown Sydney for years to come!”

My dream has always been to open my own business someday. I would never have guessed that my dream would be coming true at only 22. Without the assistance from the Sydney Downtown Development Association, I wouldn’t be where I am today and I can’t put into words how grateful I am for everything they have done for me. I am a young entrepreneur and I couldn’t be happier with the fact that I get to operate my business in my hometown.”

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2020-2021 REPORTS

Our reports are available for download and printing.


Download our reports here:

Retail Market Strategy 2020 pdf

The Best Business Mix for Downtown Sydney 2021 Survey Results pdf

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