Fortress Louisbourg


You’re going to need a day for this one.

This Parks Canada historic recreation covers the years 1740s.  The fortress had a long history of French and English fighting.  When you read this stuff in books, it does not come alive, but it literally comes alive in Louisbourg.

When you drive to the site, you stop at the visitor centre to buy tickets and you then take a bus to the walkway to the front gate of the fortress.  (Wear good shoes.)

Fort Louisbourg
The misty, foggy day made the effect much more powerful.
Fort Louisbourg
Cannons at the ready!

There are people in costume who work the various stations and buildings who are fonts of knowledge.  They are able to explain their characters and describe what it was like to live in the fortress in the 1740s.

Fort Louisbourg
Looks like someone is in trouble.

You can buy a loaf of bread at the bakery made the way it was made in the time.

There are trades people making crafts using period tools and materials.

Fort Louisbourg
This lady in the mirror was doing Bobbin Lace.

This recreation ran from the 1960s to the 1980s.  There’s a room that explains the process they went through to figure out how to rebuild the Fortress.  The history of the restoration is as fascinating as the history of what was restored.  Back in the 60s and 70s they bought 18th century antiques to furnish the Governor’s quarters.  It would be impossible to do that today.

The chapel was imposing and had the fun feature of having four bodies buried under it. One was a very unlucky Governor.

Fort Louisbourg
No matter where the French went, the church went too.

One thing you might see is children in period costume.  They run camps for them and they learn about the times and many come back to be employees.  In the 18th century, children of the well-off were raised by servants until about age 11 and then sent off to boarding school to make sure they hung out with the right sort of people.  In a book I read, “The Myth of Normal” by Gabor Maté, he speaks of children needing emotionally available parents.  Yikes, 18th century.

There’s a guidebook that you should use and if you want more detail, there are guided tours you can take.

For more information:

Fort Louisbourg Map
This map gives a sense of scale.

Where to stay in Louisbourg

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