The village is located at the western gateway to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Cheticamp has attracted many tourists from all over the world because of its unique French Acadian heritage. The origin of the name "Chéticamp" appears to be derived from the Mí'kmaq expression "Aotjatotj" (pronounced Aoutchadoutch) which means: "rarely full", speaking of the entrance to the harbour which was rarely filled with sand, permitting small vessels to enter the harbour".

The village of Cheticamp was founded in 1785 and has served as one of the primary centers for fishing along the Nova Scotia coast line. The Bretons and the Basques (of France) fished along the coast and would also dry their cod here. The fishing industry has been the life blood of Cheticamp since its founding in 1785.

A co-operative for the sale of fish was established in Chéticamp in 1915. This was the first co-operative business for the selling of fish in America. It is one of the most active and viable fishing industries along the north western coast of Nova Scotia. At the peak of its existence, the fishing industry supported the village with several canning factories and extensive fishery endeavours.