Fortress of Louisbourg
259 Park Service Road
Louisbourg, NS B1C 2L2
(902) 733-2280, Fax: (902) 733-2362
The Site is located south of Sydney on Route 22, just beyond the modern town of Louisbourg. Take Exit 8 near Sydney. Driving time is 30 minutes. An alternate route is the scenic and coastal Marconi Trail, Route 255, from Glace Bay. Driving time is one hour.
If you’re driving from the Canso Causeway, take Route 4, the Fleur-de-Lis Trail, or TransCanada Highway 104 to Sydney. Or follow TransCanada Highway 105 through Baddeck to North Sydney and take Highway 125 to Sydney. Then take Exit 8 near Sydney to Route 22. Driving time for either route is 2.5 hours
Experience 1744 Louisbourg, then a thriving seaport and capital of Île Royale (Cape Breton Island). The Fortress of Louisbourg guarded one of France’s busiest harbours in the New World.
In 1719 the French began to construct a fortified town at Louisbourg, which was completed in 1745. While the fortress left the harbour well defended, the landward fortifications were close to (but not placed on top of) high ground, which turned out to provide excellent locations for enemy siege batteries. In 1745 New Englanders took only 46 days to capture the fortress, later returned to the French. In 1758 Louisbourg was besieged a second time by 13,100 British troops supported by a 14,000 crew on board 150 ships, who captured the fortress in seven weeks. Determined that Louisbourg would never again become a fortified French base, the British demolished the fortress walls.
In 1961, the Government of Canada began a $25 million project to reconstruct about a quarter of the original town and fortifications. Within this area the buildings, yards, gardens and streets are being recreated as they were during the 1740s, immediately preceding Louisbourg’s first siege.
The work at Louisbourg included archaeological excavation, yielding millions of artifacts as well as the recovery of the ruins of fortifications and buildings. As well, 750,000 pages of documents and 500 maps and plans have been copied from various archives in France, England, Scotland, the United States and Canada.
Visitor Centre hours:
|May 1 to June 30||9:30 am to 5 pm.|
|July 1 to August 31||9 am to 6 pm|
|September 1 to October 15||9:30 am to 5 pm|
|May and October 16 -31||No animation or services.|
Access to the reconstruction Site is with a Parks Canada guide only. Tours depart the Visitor Centre at 10 am and 2 pm ( English Tours ) and 1 pm ( French Tour ). Organized tour groups can book tour times other than those listed by calling in advance.
November 1 to April 30 Closed. No fees charged during this period. Visits by pre-arranged booking only.
The Fortress’ bakery and restaurants
Open – June 1 to September 30 for daytime or special evening events. Call (902) 733-3230 or fax (902) 733-3046. In the off-season, call (902) 733-3548. The fortress’ restaurants observe the church calendar; you won’t be served meat dishes on days of abstinence (Fridays and Saturdays).
Daily (June to September)
|Commercial Group, per person||$9.00|
Daily (May and October)
|Commercial Group, per person||$3.75|
Theme Centres & Exhibits
These activities relate to specific aspects of the Louisbourg story.
- De la Plagne House: watch a film on the Acadians. Guided tours start here.
- Ordonnateur’s Residence: learn about Louisbourg, the seaport and see paintings by Lewis Parker that portray the Louisbourg of 1744.
- DuHaget House: watch Compagnies Franches de la Marine, a 15-minute video about a Louisbourg soldier’s life
- De la Perelle House: visit an exhibit – The Sisters of Louisbourg, The Mission of the Congregation of Notre Dame 1727-1758.
- Children’s Interpretive Centre located in the Rodrigue House: Children (ages 4-10) will enjoy an entertaining and educational experience during July and August.
- Carrerot House: discover period building techniques.
- Museum: and see a scale model of the Fortress and some of the Site’s earliest artifacts.
Caution: The Fortress of Louisbourg is a faithful reproduction of an 18th-century town. Many areas require caution when visiting, with some cobblestone walking areas being uneven, buildings dimly lit, and ramparts and walls are unprotected by guard rails or barricades. You may see both domestic and wild animals on-site; do not try to pet or feed them.
Walk through the 18th-century ruins of buildings and fortifications. A self-guiding brochure and exhibit panels describe the ruins. The walk begins near the Museum.
Picnic near the site of the oldest lighthouse in Canada or at landing areas of siege forces.
- Watch for harbour seals, pothead whales and boats.
- Walk to the ruins near the Royal Battery parking lot.
- At the Marconi picnic area, find outside cooking shelters and a view of Louisbourg harbour and the Fortress.
- Oceanside picnicking is available at Kennington Cove until September 30.
- Picnic tables are also available on the reconstructed site in the King’s Garden and at the Visitor Centre.
There are two beautiful ocean beaches offering supervised and non-supervised swimming at nearby Kennington Cove and Anson’s Cove, accessible until September 30.