Experience the life of an 18th-century fortress, learn about colonial battles and meet characters from a bygone era at this open-air museum.
To visit Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site is to take a journey back to the 18th century and the pre-Confederation era on Cape Breton Island. The original fort was founded by the French and twice besieged by the British. Today’s attraction is a partial reconstruction of the stronghold and its town, and showcases the life of a French military base and seaport in 1744. Peek inside 18th-century buildings, hear stories of French colonists and British invaders and sample traditional food.
Enter the fortress via a grand gatehouse to discover a fortified town with many period buildings. Go on a self-guided or guided tour of the site. Check out the six-cannon battery that projects into the harbor. Stroll around the pristine gardens of the Engineer’s Property and admire the stately Governor’s Apartments. Hear the bells ring every hour from the tower at the King’s Bastion Barracks.
Watch actors dressed in period clothing recreate the daily lives of families, soldiers and wealthy merchants. Observe demonstrations of traditional music, dance, cookery and military parades. Learn about 18th-century bread-making processes and the history of chocolate, a sought after commodity at the time. Dine on customary meals cooked according to centuries-old recipes.
Go to the De la Perelle Property for the exhibit on the Sisters of Louisbourg. These were members of a religious order who operated the town's school. Visit the timber frame Lartigue Property, which once served as a home and a courthouse.
The Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site is a 10-minute drive from Louisbourg’s town center. Public transport is limited in the town so the easiest way to get here is via rented car. There’s free parking outside the entrance to the fortress. On a pleasant day you might want to walk here along the road that runs by Louisbourg Harbour’s waterfront.
The fortress is open daily, except for some public holidays. Admission fees and the availability of activities vary according to the season, and discounts are available for seniors, children and family groups.