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Fortress of Louisbourg - A view from our expert author


To say that this is the largest historical reconstruction in North America doesn’t really begin to give an idea of the scale of this 6,700ha site.

Park directly on site via Entrance 2 between mid September and mid June, or park (for free) at the visitor centre at other times, buy your ticket and take the 7-minute bus ride to the fortress area. The reconstructed area alone sprawls across some 10ha, with dozens of buildings to visit and numerous activities to entertain you.

Fortress of Louisbourg. Nova Scotia by Aconcagua, Wikipedia

Theme centres and exhibits abound, each of which offers insight into a different part of the history and everyday life of the fortress in the 1740s. Whereas in many other living museums you’ll see a few interpreters demonstrating a few traditional techniques, when everything is up and running Louisbourg seems alive with men, women and children in costume, only too prepared to interact – in character – with visitors. Strikingly obvious is the class difference at the time, with both fine houses for the gentry, and simple spartan dwellings for the have-nots.

(Photo: Living history events at the Fortress of Louisbourg © Aconcagua, Wikipedia)

See building techniques demonstrated, nail making, open-hearth cooking and lace making. Observe military exercises and in July and August fire a cannon (extra CAN$55.20) or a real musket (extra CAN$36.80) whilst in period costume. Herbs and vegetables are tended in tidy back gardens.

Join a guided walking tour or one of the various programmes, including the story and tasting of rum (check in advance for tour times), or use the site map to explore on your own. Be prepared for windy and/or wet weather, and a lot of walking. Allow far more time than you usually would for a ‘standard’ historical site or living museum. Get in the mood, and go back more than three centuries!

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