Friday 30 September 2011

Fortress of Louisbourg, Louisbourg, NS

Gord and I are into history ... he especially likes to visit old forts.

Since we were coming to the Sydney, heading to the Fortress of Louisbourg was on our list of things to do. It's only a half hour drive and we headed there this morning.

The Fortress of Louisbourg is a national historic site and the location of a one-quarter partial reconstruction of an 18th century French fortress at Louisbourg, Nova Scotia. Its two sieges, especially that of 1758, were turning points in the Anglo-French imperial struggle for what today is Canada.

The fortress and town were partially reconstructed in the 1960s, using some of the original stonework and providing jobs for unemployed coal miners in the effort. The site is now operated by Parks Canada as a living history museum.

Here is the entrance to the park.

It's a six minute bus ride to the actual fortress.

The bus drops you off at a fisherman's hut. Throughout the fortress, there are costumed interpreters dressed in costumes who act and talk as if they are back in 1744. Since it's the end of the season, there were fewer interpreters but still lots to talk to.

At first, Gord and I were lamenting that it was so foggy and misty ... that it would have been nice if it had been a clear sunny day. But once we thought about it, the fog and mist made it all that much better because these were the actual dreary conditions the residents would have endured. Louisbourg is on the Atlantic Ocean and they don't get a lot of sun there.

When we approached the entrance, we were asked what our business at the fortress was.

Going inside the fortress.

Guards worked 24 hour shifts. They then had 48 hours off but were encouraged to work around the fortress. Plus it was a chance to earn extra money. They made 9 livres a month but 7.5 livres were deducted to pay board. They were left with just enough each month to buy a pair of shoes or a bottle of rum.

Looking out at the Atlantic Ocean ... yes, it's out there.

Here's the blacksmith.

We visited the bakery. Gord is holding a six pound loaf of bread. This would have been a four day ration for a soldier.

They bake and sell day's rations ... Gord bought one ($2). It was dense and I found it salty. Gord ate it all.

The ice house.

We heard what life was like for a soldier and then watched a gun demonstration as the engineer looks on. Of course, Gord wanted to hold the gun!

The chapel.

The soldier's barracks.

We headed outside to the King's bastion ramparts and talked with a Native spy (he would get information from the British and pass it onto the French). He made about 30 livres a month.

The Governor's apartments ... a lot different from the soldiers barracks!

We ran into this guy a few times. First he was taking three geese for a walk around the fortress and then he took two turkeys for a walk. In reality, he is responsible for keeping the animals healthy (he has a vet degree). Nice gig!

These are the ruins of actual houses.

Definitely a great way to spend more than three hours!

In the summer time, they can get up to 2,000 visitors a day and it can be quite busy and jammed. It wasn't all that busy and we were delighted to be able to talk with all the interpreters, both when they were in character and also to ask about their life today.

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