Go back in time at historic Fortress Louisbourg. Three hundred years in time, to be exact! Because that’s what you’ll experience at this restored 1744 French fortress found along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada.
A Little History About Fortress Louisbourg
Fortress Louisbourg is history come to life. Witness first hand how this restored fortress grew from a tiny fishing port into one of the most extensive European forts built in North America. Explore 18th century life where soldiers co-mingled with fishermen, merchants bartered with sailors, and families came to raise their children.
Fortress Louisbourg underwent two different English sieges during the 18th century English and French struggles for control of the region. By the mid-1750′s, life changed drastically for those early French settlers, as the fort succumbed once and for all to the English. Learn more about the history of Fortress Louisbourg at Fortress of Louisbourg Association and Wikidpedia.
Today, thanks to the Canadian National Park System, Fortress Louisbourg has again become a vibrant, thriving community, a place transported back in time to life as it was 300 years ago at a French outpost on a remote Canadian shore line.
A Day At The Fortress – Witness History In Action!
So come along with us and explore this most fascinating moment in time. Experience history as it comes alive right before your eyes. Witness life as it was in 1744 Fortress Louisbourg.
It’ll be fun. And educational too. Shhhh. Don’t tell the kids the educational part! They’ll just think they’re have loads of fun exploring this 300 year old fort.
It’s A Soldier’s Life For Me!
First and foremost, Fortress Louisbourg was a military establishment. And what better way to learn about an 18th century French soldier’s life than from the soldier himself? The soldiers love to fill you in on what a soldier’s life was like in 1744. Listen, ask questions. Who knows, he might even let you hold his gun! Don’t worry – these guns aren’t loaded.
Hear that? It’s the beat of drums. Hurry along now. It’s time for the governor’s inspection of the militia and the afternoon drills. You don’t want to miss the action, now.
Head up high along the top of the fortress wall. It’s the perfect vantage point to witness the French militia’s inspection by their commanding officers and the governor.
Watch closely as the soldiers practice their drills. They need to be in tip-top readiness to defend the fort from invaders. Be careful, though. They might just try to enlist you!
Don’t forget to walk along the fort’s walls and get up close with the cannons. Look out past the fort’s walls. Stare down the bore of a cannon, picturing yourself defending the fort from it’s enemies. Yup. Pretty awesome, it is!
Imagine yourself in the French militia as you wander through the soldiers’ barracks and the commanding officers housing. Don’t miss the governor’s house and the chapel too. It’s all here, and open for you to witness life through the eyes of the 1744 French military.
Up Close With 18th Century Village Life
Fortress Louisbourg was not just a militarys fortress. It was also a vibrant and lively village, complete with fishermen, farmers, families, merchants, clergy and a host of feathered and four legged residents. You might even stroll by a villager as he takes his feathered friends for a walk.
Stop at the local farm yard to feed a hungry goat, talk turkey with the local Tom. Don’t forget to feed yourself! Sample local cuisine at one of Fort Louisbough dining options. Buy fresh-baked bread for a pittance at the King’s Bakery. A most yummy treat, indeed.
Continue on your way. See how a merchant’s family might have lived in this 18th century fortified village. Imagine life without – gasp – electricity! Entertainment was a bit different, huh! No cell phones, iPods, iPads or DS’s here, boys!
Watch a real live blacksmith practice his trade in an authentically restored blacksmith. Or perhaps the woodworker building a new fishing boat, the baker pounding bread dough, or a knife maker creating a new blade. Explore the armory, with it’s gunpowder, rifles and cannons on hand and ready to defend the fort.
Wander past villagers and soldiers alike. Stop, ask questions. They’ll fill you in on life in the 1740′s. And perhaps pose for a photo or two. Just don’t ask them about modern stuff like cell phones or iPods! This is 1744 after all!
And who knows? You might just experience local justice, first hand. Like this star-crossed lover, who crossed his wife with his antics!
Rumor had it that he filtched a neighbor’s drink and imbibed a little too much last night!
Don’t just take my word about how much fun a day at Fortress Louisbourg can be. Check out what others have to say at TripAdvisor.
Plan Your Own Fortress Louisbourg Adventure
Ready to plan your own Fortress Louisbourg visit? You’ll need to find your way to the Sydney area of Cape Breton Island first, from which the fortress is a short drive away. Plan on one to two days to fully explore the fortress, more if you plan for other adventures in the surrounding areas.
Lodging is scarce in the immediate area of the fortress. We stayed at the Point of View Suites, a short five minute drive from the park’s entrance. On a clear day, you can actually see the fortress from the Suites, even hear the cannons being fired. If you are looking for a larger hotel experience, you might want to look in Sydney.
So what do you think? Did you enjoy this modern exploration of an historical fort? Let us know in the Comments section below.
All images from C.Biederman.