Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site
3 to 5 hours
Louisbourg harbour has provided safe anchorage for some 250 years. Its lighthouse is one of the oldest to be recorded on mariners' charts of North America. In modern times the town relies on the fisheries and the largest national historic site in Canada for its economic development.
Parks Canada has spent over $60 million to restore fully one-quarter of the 18th-century town, including many of its buildings and much of its masonry and earth-packed fortifications. The fortress has been meticulously rebuilt on the foundations of the original by following detailed blueprints from the Paris archives. Inside the massive stone walls of Fortress Louisbourg the year is 1744, 16 years before the British destroyed the fortress, and the French control their trade with the New World from this very spot.
As you stroll the streets, costumed washerwomen, bread sellers, soldiers, noblemen and musicians are going about the daily business of the period. After visiting the quaint homes, formal gardens and comfortable inns stop at a lively tavern for a hot buttered rum. The costumed interpreters are there to share the lives they portray so ask as many questions as you like. Keep in mind that this is not a poor fortress; the trade in salt cod with France and the rest of Roman Catholic Europe is more profitable than the fur trade.
Be sure to visit the project area and see how fishermen became stonemasons and wood carvers working with old building methods to rebuild the town. Extensive research was done not only to ensure that the buildings were authentic, but also the eating utensils, clothes, games, farming methods and so much more.
To make the most of your visit be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes; the weather is changeable, so bring a sweater or rainproof jacket. Please remember that this a French Fortress so avoid wearing red!