The Canso Canal is located in the Strait of Canso, on the eastern side of the Canso Causeway, a rock-fill causeway which opened in 1955 to carry a 2-lane highway and a single rail track from Cape Breton Island to mainland Nova Scotia. The canal was built through Balhache Point in Inverness County.
The causeway completely blocks the Strait of Canso, which links the waters of St. George's Bay in the Northumberland Strait, a sub-basin of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, with Chedabucto Bay on the Atlantic Ocean.
The canal, constructed between 1953 and 1955, is 24 metres (78.7 ft) wide, 570 metres (1,870 ft) long and minimum depth of 9.8 metres (32.15 ft) with a single Seawaymax lock to account for tidal differences; any vessel capable of transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway will fit through the Canso Canal.
Vessels entering St. George's Bay to the west of the canal, or Chedabucto Bay to the east, must comply with a Vessel Traffic System operated by the Canadian Coast Guard.
An average of 2,069 ships, with an average gross tonnage of 1.88 million tons pass through the Canso Canal each year. About 85 per cent of vessel traffic is owned or operated by shipping companies, fishermen and government, the remainder being pleasure craft users.
- http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/virtual-exhibits/exhibit/the-canso-causeways-history-and-impact The Canso Causeway's History and Impact
- King, Nancy (2009-08-23). "Canso Canal closing early this year for renovations". The Cape Breton Post. Transcontinental Media Inc. Retrieved 2009-08-24.