New high-resolution magnetic data have been acquired along the coast of western Cape Breton Island near Cheticamp, Nova Scotia, in a transition zone between exposed, elevated basement of the Cape Breton highlands and the adjacent Carboniferous sediment-filled Magdalen Basin. These data were collected to provide continuity between the mapped onshore geology and the geophysical-based interpretations of offshore structure. Separation of the geologic component of the data from the effects of diurnal and other variations in the Earth’s magnetic field was made difficult by recording problems at the nearby base recording station. Careful correlation of the fragmented station signal with records from a nearby permanent magnetic observatory enabled a reasonable diurnal signal to be synthesized and applied successfully to the data. Additional processing and filtering helped to enhance small anomalies in the data. Several low-amplitude, fairly linear magnetic anomalies are visible in the reduced anomaly data, generally trending north to northwest away from the coastline. Small-amplitude lineations in the offshore at Cheticamp are associated with folded, tilted, or faulted strata imaged on coincident seismic reflection data and are interpreted as representing juxtaposed units of Carboniferous strata. Other small anomalies appear to represent shallow contacts between intrusive or metasedimentary rocks visible in outcrops near the coast. A stronger, coast-parallel anomaly that extends across the study area from a regional magnetic high in the north is coincident with an offset in basement rocks or deeper strata beneath Carboniferous basin fill. This anomaly may mark part of the faulted transition zone between the elevated highlands of northwestern Cape Breton Island and the Magdalen Basin depocentre.