A bird takes off in front of the Lada Christanna boat on a cold February day on the Glace Bay Harbour in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

A perfectly arranged line of laundry. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Cape Breton Island, at the eastern end of Nova Scotia, has a population of 130,000. Its summers attract tourists and its winters are bitter, its eastern edge bare to the winds of the Atlantic Ocean.

Washington Post reporter Chico Harlan recently wrote about a website callout to Americans looking to escape the presidency of Donald Trump. Move to Cape Breton, it said. That hasn’t happened, and with strict immigration laws in Canada, it’s not likely to happen any time soon.

Still, Washington Post staff photographer Sarah Voisin took the opportunity to show what life is like there, the ups, downs and icy in-betweens.

“I was just hoping to tell the story of the place,” Voisin said. “I was hoping to tell as many stories as I could.”


A fishing shed in Little River Wharf is covered with tuna fins. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Cars drive by a boarded up house for sale in Sydney on February 26, 2017. A house in Cape Breton can be obtained for less than the price of a new car. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Stefan MacNeil, 29, smokes a cigarette at a house party. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Keanan MacKenzie, 6, left, and his younger brother, Cullen, 4, of New Waterford, remove their hockey gear in the dressing room of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.(Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Workers at Ka’ Le Bay Seafoods Ltd. in Glace Bay remove chunks of ice and snow from the front of the facility. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Knitters from across Cape Breton gather for an all-day annual knit-a-thon. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Cape Breton music is a Celtic music style that is central to the residents’ identities as Cape Bretoners, with their version of square dancing going back more than 100 years. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Olivia Roach, 5, left, whispers a secret to her friend Jaielyne Burns, 5, as they watch the cows eat hay on a dairy farm in Grand Etang. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

From left to right are brothers, Mohamad, 10, Odai, 3, and Kosai, 6, in a bedroom of their new house. Ahmad Hamadi and his wife Jihan Othman and their five children are Syrian refugees who were helped by a church to settle in Cape Breton. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Fog hangs over an old cemetery in Sydney. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

As the sun sets Tyler McCune, 11, stands on the front porch of his family’s apartment. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

After attending a party, Claire Turps, 28, sleeps on the sofa of her friend’s house in Glace Bay as cigarette smoke drifts over her head. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

A man is seen walking on the beach through the window of a shed in Ingonish near Cape Breton’s famous scenic roadway, The Cabot Trail, one of the most famous drives in Canada. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)