Port Hood Court House

In 1824, shortly after Cape Breton was annexed to mainland Nova Scotia, the island was divided into judicial districts and Port Hood, on the western coast, was proclaimed the site where the “Courts of Common Pleas and Session of the Peace shall hereinafter be held.” With its large harbour and thriving fishing industry, Port Hood was a natural choice as shiretown (the seat of local government) when Inverness County was established in 1837.

The community has had a succession of courthouses, all located on the aptly named Court House Square. The first was a small stone structure built sometime after 1825. It was replaced in 1872 by a building that boasted a large courtroom with galleries ringing the rear and side walls, giving spectators prime seats for viewing the proceedings. This courthouse was destroyed by fire in December 1935, along with many of the court records it contained. The current courthouse was completed in 1936 and renovated in the 1940s. A major extension was added to the north end of the building in 1967 to provide additional office space.