Words Fail Us: A Week in Pictures at the Fortress of Louisbourg


The Fortress of Louisbourg is an spectacular place for families. We have seen, experienced, and learned so much this past week that we can’t really put it all into words. Why is this such a special place? The short answer is that life in a bustling 18th-century city lives and breathes here (literally). The great condition of the ruins and meticulous records kept of its construction and daily life made it possible to recreate the original port city of Louisbourg, and now it stands as the largest historical reconstruction on the continent. Louisbourg is also the only major colonial city in North America not to have a modern city built on top of it. So when you take the 5-minute bus ride from the Visitor’s Center to the Fortress, you truly are transported to another world with minimal intrusion from the present. Here is a glimpse into our magical week here.

Architecture: The buildings of Louisbourg are accurate reconstructions of the original 18th-century French seaport. From the lavish governor’s residence to humble inns for the common traveler, the walls and buildings themselves taught us about fortifications, food storage, metal working, and everything in between.

Archaeology: We were thrilled to be visiting during Louisbourg 300, a series of special activities celebrating the town’s 300th anniversary. In addition to all the regular demonstrations, we were treated to the opportunity to observe and speak with Parks Canada archaeologists who were recovering artifacts from the harbor, excavating around the walled city, and identifying and preserving artifacts for future generations to enjoy.

Residents of the City: The amount of knowledge the residents of the city (park staff reenactors ) have is truly impressive. Spending time speaking with the residents and learning about their world was one of our favorite parts of our time at Louisbourg. And not only do the residents “know” lots of interesting things, they also “do” lots of interesting things. We saw a ship being built, stew simmering over the hearth, bread baking in a brick oven, and even played a Basque bowling game and learned a period dance.

Beyond the Fortress Walls: The Historical Site is much more than just the walled city itself. We swam at the sandy beach where the attacking British launched their ground assault in 1745, explored the ruins of the town hospital, and posed next to the site of the first lighthouse in Canada, all without leaving the park boundaries.

Fun, Fun, Fun: At the Fortress of Louisbourg, we found surprises and delights around every corner for the young and not so young of us alike. For some of us, it came from climbing into a massive lime kiln used to make mortar. For others (High Five), it came from riding the bus to the Fortress and back. In the end, we could never have wished for a more perfect, fun, and educational week.


8 thoughts on “Words Fail Us: A Week in Pictures at the Fortress of Louisbourg

  1. Hi my name is David,
    I actually work at the Fortress of Louisbourg in costume and I spoke to you guys a couple times. A coworker posted the link to your site on facebook so I had to stop by and say hi and that I hope your having an awesome time on your trip!
    Keep up the adventures!!!

    All the best,

    • We really can’t say enough things about the wonderful costumed staff such as yourself. We could have spent another week just going around and learning from all of you. Again, hats off to you for helping to create such a wonderful experience!

      • Thanks for all the great complements!
        Please pass it on, word of mouth is our best asset, our numbers have been down, well numbers everywhere have been down and if we don’t get people to visit these places we may loose them. So thanks to you guys for experiencing our sites and spreading the word!


  2. We lived in St Peter’s (Cape Breton) for three years before we moved here to NL last summer, and I never managed to convince my husband to go to the Fortress. I have good memories of it from when I was younger, though (my family lived in Sydney for a few years, total coincidence). We went at least once a summer and had SO much fun! Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your Fortress of Louisbourg experience. Cape Breton Island is a beautiful place (as is Newfoundland), and we hope to return to both in our future travels.

  3. from childhood days I remember when going to Lsbg and getting lobsters, clams, etc and having a fire on the beach. I barely remember the beginning when the govt decided to plan on reconstruction of Louisbourg. I left CB for some 20+ years and even though my heart was always on CB the time came for me to retire and so happy I made the right decision. Last week I was blessed to have someone take me to Lsbg for the day and was I impressed – you better believe it. I have a brother (now deceased) who got his electrician papers while working at Lsbg. It was sad to hear it is difficult to further funding to continue the escavation. So, for my time I enjoyed what the history had to tell me and to share the hard work the guides put in to make a memorable day with my thanks to one and all Shirley Rhymes

  4. Pingback: Fired Up About Hydrants | Fives on the Fly

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