The Transition House movement began in Nova Scotia in the mid-seventies in Halifax. A group of concerned citizens did a housing study and began to realize the extent of the abuse women were living and the lack of resources these women had in their communities. In 1978 they opened Bryony House as a result of this concern.

Sydney was also realizing this need around the same time. The Cape Breton Transition House was opened in 1981.

Tearmann House in Pictou County began their research after a battered woman was beaten and had to leave her home with her son only to find that the only resource she could expect was overnight in a hotel room paid for by the Department of Community Services. The Women’s Centre in Pictou County took up the challenge and began to do a needs assessment to document the number of women needing assistance in trying to leave an abusive situation. Tearmann House was opened in 1984.

Chrysalis House in Kentville, Juniper House in Yarmouth and Harbour House in Bridgewater, all opened in the next couple of years. These Houses also came from the community concern that there were no services or resources for abused women and their children leaving violent relationships. After these Houses were established there was a need defined that one in Truro, another in Amherst and another in Port Hawksbury was also necessary. We now have Third Place in Truro, Cumberland County Transition House in Amherst and Leeside in Port Hawksbury.

In addition to the Houses in this province there is also Naomi Society in Antigonish. This organization has a safe apartment set up in Antigonish and Antigonish County. is very important to note that these Houses have come to be because the community defined them to be a necessity and approached the Provincial Government to provide operational funding so that these services could be provided to women and their children fleeing male violence against women.


In 1980 national statistics stated that one in ten women in Canada were abused by their partner. At that time the findings for Cape Breton reflected that of the national data. Cape Breton women were, therefore, in need of special services catering to their situation. A short term crisis shelter would meet this need. Since its opening in February 1981, Cape Breton Transition House has consistently provided services for battered women and their children who are victims of family violence. Throughout its history Cape Breton Transition House had many ups and downs ranging from almost having to shut down after one year of service due to finances, to having the provincial government agree to fund 75% of the operational budget.

Cape Breton Transition House
Interactive Timeline

Click to see how CB Transition house has grown and evolved to serve Cape Breton and Victoria Counties.

(The information provided was prepared by David B. MacKeigan. He was able to gather the information through interviews with Bea LeBlanc, newspaper articles and taped interviews with Fran Manson. Updates to this documentation were added by Helen Morrison the current Executive Director of Cape Breton Transition House).


Recognizing the Need


Fundraising begins


Educating the Public
Transition House Opens
Lean Times


Therapeutic Childcare Program Developed
"Not in Cape Breton"
Government Steps Up


Callwood House


MacAdam Place Opens


Willow House Opens


Present Day