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Antigonish

Antigonish is located just off the Trans-Canada Highway, the last town of any size before you reach Cape Breton Island. As such, it's home to a number of chain motels, both downtown and on the "strip" leading into town. If nightfall is coming, and you're bound for Cape Breton, I'd suggest overnighting here and pushing off the next morning. That's because Port Hastings and Port Hawkesbury -- the first towns you encounter on Cape Breton -- are also full of chain motels. Antigonish is a better choice, with better restaurants.

Budget travelers can also book a no-frills dorm room or apartment at St. Francis Xavier University (tel. 902/867-2855 or 877/STAY-AT-X [782-9289]) from mid-May through mid-August. The dorm rooms are mostly simple and share hallway washrooms, but they include all the basics: linens, pillows, towels, and soap. Apartments have private bathrooms and kitchens -- but no utensils; bring your own. Dorm room rates here range from about C$40 to C$125 for two, including tax, while the dorm apartments (four single bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a living room) cost from C$115 to C$145 per night. Meals are available in the Morrison Dining Hall for a small charge. The best thing about staying here is that you get the use of some campus facilities -- and walk-to-it proximity to the summer theater festival. If you're looking for a room and it's after business hours, head to the Security Office in the basement of MacKinnon Hall and ask nicely.

At the west edge of town on the Trans-Canada Highway (Route 104), you'll find the plain Chateau Motel (tel. 877/339-8544 or 902/863-4871) with about 16 double rooms (queen and king beds) and simple cottages (double beds, but full kitchens). There's also a Laundromat on the premises. Rates are C$69 to C$99 per night.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.