Tuesday, September 22, 2009


The Fortress of Louisbourg is an amazing historic site that was funded by Diefenbaker's government in the 60's to create employment for out of work miner's. Over twenty years, they were able to reconstruct 1/5th of the fortress on the exact site, as they had over 750,000 pages of documentation, 500 maps and plans and excavated thousands of artifacts. This created an exact replica and the costumed interpreters now paint the picture of life as it happened in 1744. Before we could enter the gate to the fortress, we were stopped by a French sentry who let Mike in as he spoke French. The rest of us were asked for a password - having none, we were told to bring back a shot of rum for letting us in. Lana was considered very suspicious by the sentry and was told she would be watched closely (an English spy perhaps?).
We were amazed at the size of the buildings (high ceilings, decent size rooms). Here are some of the original foundations and the replica buildings are exactly as they appeared in the 1700's.
Louisbourg was a garrison town, naval port and stronghold. It was named after Louis XIV and was capital of Ile Royale. The French came here in 1713 following territorial losses to the English in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. With a thriving fishing (cod) industry and trade, it quickly became France's most important stronghold and seaport. The port gate is at the end of this road. Louisbourg was attacked and under 6 weeks of seige by the English in 1745 then was returned by treaty to the French only to be attacked again in 1758 and under seige for 6 weeks, each time the French were deported back to France or one of its colonies. When the English abandoned the Fortress years later, they blew up the walls to prevent it from becoming a fortified city again.
The King's Bastion Barracks housed the Governor's apartments on the left, which were very elegant. Military personnel were housed on the right and 3 would have to share a wooden bed with straw mats working shifts.
This is at the back of the King's Bastion Barracks, with cannons on the walls.
All artifacts are exact replicas that were created. The company that orginally made the rolled glass in the windows was still in business and contacted to produce the glass for the reconstruction.
Here is the inside of the "Magazin General", with earth floor and stone and brick walls. We enjoyed lunch in a replica 18th century restaurant, eating soup served in pewter bowls, using heavy pewter spoons while wearing large cloth bibs (to keep our clothes clean, as washing of both clothes and people did not occur often). Hence perfume was used to mask BO and wigs were worn due to lice problems. Interesting that with parental permission, girls could marry at age 13 and boys at 15; however, without permission age to marry was 26 and 29 respectively. Also, males outnumbered females 8 to 1.
Driving by the town of Louisbourg, noticed that many fishermen had boats docked by their homes.
Drove to the Louisbourg lighthouse, site of the first lighthouse in Canada and second oldest lighthouse in North America (you can see the original foundations beside it). The original lighthouse burned cod liver oil and the light could be seen at sea for 18 miles.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not surprised that they didn't want to let old 'shifty eye' in, probably was some dame like her that got them run off in the first place...Rose