Step into the Cape Breton Miners Museum’s Digital Mine Simulator Expertise


GLACE BAY, NS – A bang reverberates round you as smoke fills the air and the partitions and ceiling of the cave.

Every thing turns black.

You aren’t undead, you might be in a coal mine simulator at Cape Breton Miners Museum in Glass Bay.

The digital expertise was 4 years within the making, and the museum is anticipating an inflow of vacationer visitors this summer season as cruise ship season returns to Cape Breton.

‘Cape Breton Merchandise’

“We began engaged on (the digital expertise) in 2018 and we completed it in Could of 2021,” mentioned Mary Pat Momborquet, govt director of the Cape Breton Miners Museum. “Supposedly a whole lot of the delay was as a result of COVID, but it surely was mainly 4 years of producing and we’re very excited in regards to the product that we received from it.

“It is very a lot a Cape Breton product and a whole lot of it comes from the mining trade.”

The Coal Mine Simulator experience begins with a short film starring a retired coal miner and his wife (played by actors) who discuss life in a coal mine village.  Jessica Smith/Cape Breton Post
The Coal Mine Simulator expertise begins with a brief movie starring a retired coal miner and his spouse (performed by actors) who focus on life in a coal mine village. Jessica Smith/Cape Breton Submit

The day Cape Breton Submit joined a personal tour group, 79-year-old Want Donovan, a retired miner and present tour information on the museum, was main the tour.


for those who go:

Cape Breton Miners Museum

  • Tackle: 17 Museum St., Glass Bay
  • Contact: (902) 849-4522
  • E-mail: [email protected]
  • Open: June 1, 2022; Wednesday to Sunday
  • Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. *The final underground tour of every day is booked at 4 p.m.
  • Value: Adults: $18 with museum admission or $23 with digital and underground mine tour; Kids: $14 or $19 with a digital and underground mine tour

Donovan, a coal employee, mentioned, “Many individuals dwelling in Cape Breton heard their fathers discuss work within the coal mines, they did this or they did that, however no place to truly see it. Wasn’t.” Mines at Glass Bay, New Waterford and Sydney Mines for 32 years earlier than retiring in 1999.

Wish Donovan, 79, worked for 32 years in coal mines at Glass Bay, New Waterford and the Sydney Mines.  He has been retired since 1999 and is now one of the tour guides at the museum.  Jessica Smith/Cape Breton Post
Want Donovan, 79, labored for 32 years in coal mines at Glass Bay, New Waterford and the Sydney Mines. He has been retired since 1999 and is now one of many tour guides on the museum. Jessica Smith/Cape Breton Submit

“And now with this (simulator), for those who do not need to go underground you possibly can go into the simulator, we push a button and switch it on for you, and you may see precisely what your father or grandfather had skilled.”

The simulation expertise begins with a brief movie, “Pre-Present”, during which a retired miner and his spouse – each actors – carry the viewers to the story of household and group life in a mining village. Dozens of miners’ overalls cling from the ceiling of this room.

The short film begins with a film of dozens of retired miners singing, reminding viewers of the camaraderie between the miners.  Jessica Smith/Cape Breton Post
The brief movie begins with a movie of dozens of retired miners singing, reminding viewers of the camaraderie between the miners. Jessica Smith/Cape Breton Submit

“Every thing was checked by us, we auditioned the actors,” Momborquet mentioned. “It is a Cape Breton expertise about Cape Breton.”

Simulation of a mine shaft

Viewers are then taken to the simulator, the place a picket mining cart with a number of rows sits within the heart of a room surrounded by three screens. That is the place retired miners share the expertise and hazard of getting into and dealing a mine.

“What we determined to do was mining for ages,” Momborquet mentioned. “So (the expertise) begins again on the flip of the twentieth century and it goes on until the Nineteen Eighties.”

The rumble below the picket benches imitates the movement of the cart because it enters the depths of the mine shaft and the room darkens. A chill enters because the rocky quarry partitions encompass the viewers and the lights twinkle within the dimly lit simulator room.

The virtual experience simulates the day-to-day experience of roof collapses, explosions and a miner at different periods in history.  Jessica Smith/Cape Breton Post
The digital expertise simulates the day-to-day expertise of roof collapses, explosions and a miner at completely different intervals in historical past. Jessica Smith/Cape Breton Submit

Retired miners clarify to the viewers how essential it was for employees to go away sufficient coal within the partitions “to maintain it from coming throughout you.” He explains the gradual shift from the harmful days of candlelit mine shafts to the primary electrical lighting and notes the significance of canaries within the coal mine.

“With canaries, when it stops shifting you need to fear,” he says.

Moments later, a heart-wrenching explosion stuns everybody as a ball of fireside fills the display screen and every little thing goes black. Males run throughout the display screen, with a rescue group shifting in to rescue survivors of the explosion.

A sign on the outside of the door in Coal Mine Simulator warns visitors about the various effects involved in the experience.  Jessica Smith/Cape Breton Post
An indication on the skin of the door in Coal Mine Simulator warns guests in regards to the varied results concerned within the expertise. Jessica Smith/Cape Breton Submit

the story behind the expertise

The inspiration behind the creation of the Coal Mine Simulator was a mine automobile on an engine that might transfer backwards and forwards with a movie that was in entrance of the museum.

“So we took that (concept) and ran with it,” Momborquet mentioned. “After which we got here up with the Digital Mine Tour, which is much more sophisticated. … Nevertheless it’s one thing that has come out of the group.”


“It was way more immersive and emotional than I anticipated.”

— Brenna Phillips, North Sydney


An enormous group of designers, particular results creators, builders, engineers and building individuals labored on the simulator. Momborquet emphasizes that the simulator additionally opens up the underground mine expertise to seniors and folks with disabilities who can not handle to be underground.

Mary Pat Momborquet, Executive Director of the Cape Breton Miners Museum in Glass Bay: "(Simulator) was quite a four year build and we are very excited about the product that we got from it.  I must say, this is a Cape Breton product." Jessica Smith/Cape Breton Post
Mary Pat Momborquet, Government Director of the Cape Breton Miners Museum in Glass Bay: “(The simulator) was fairly a 4 yr construct and we’re very excited in regards to the product we received from it. I’ve to say, it is just about the Cape Breton’s product.” Jessica Smith/Cape Breton Submit

“There is a ton of individuals pulling it off,” Momborket mentioned. “And we had expertise coming from Cape Breton, Halifax, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, so it was a cross-country[effort]however we tried to have as a lot Cape Breton[in experience]as doable.”

The Cape Breton Submit spoke to some members of a YREACH Sydney group after experiencing the simulator.

Sam Wu mentioned, “It is actually wonderful. It is loads higher than I anticipated.” “Once we noticed (retired miners) sing collectively… that half actually touched me.”

“It was extra immersive and emotional than I anticipated,” mentioned North Sydney’s Brenna Phillips. “It actually makes you are feeling the deep sense that these individuals felt, camaraderie.”


Jessica Smith is a breaking information, human curiosity, surroundings and local weather change reporter on the Cape Breton Submit. observe him on twitter @CBPost_Jessica,






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