Monday, June 24, 2013

Further explorations with Pat.

My chum, Pat, was here recently on what is turning out to be her mandatory, annual visit and I couldn't be happier.

We did a LOT of stuff on last year's visit .....

This year, we went for quality rather than quantity, and set off check out  the Fortress at Louisbourg up in Cape Breton as it celebrates its 300th anniversary.

On the way, we stopped at Rita McNeil's famous Tea Room where I purchased some delicious strawberry tea.

The drive from Eastern Passage to Louisbourg was close to 500 km (310 miles), so we stayed overnight in Louisbourg and headed to the Fortress early the next morning.   Sadly the weather was chilly and wet for much of Pat's visit but we soldiered on regardless.

The aim of the of the Fortress of Louisbourg is to portray a moment in time from the summer of 1744, when the fortress was nearly complete, and the had yet to suffer bombardment and conquest.

The attention to detail and mood is impressive.

The Fortress is staffed with folk in traditional garb of the era, who don't just dress the part, but act it too.  Pat and I were accosted by a guard who inquired regarding the whereabouts of our male escorts.  As we were two single ladies on our own, he insisted on escorting us for a while.

Should we really be having to wear ski jackets in June !?

Though there are over 50 buildings, only about ten or twelve of them were open, as June is "shoulder season" !   The place is only fully staffed and all buildings open, in July and August.  Pity.

Nevertheless, it was wonderful to explore.  As the Fortress is so large, it was easy to take photographs without any other visitors in it.  Bet that never happens in summer !

Looking outward over the Fortress wall.  
One of the gated entrances had a very oriental feel to it.
I was told that the architect had visited the Far East.
This image from the Cape Breton Post gives you a
sense of the size of the Fortress.

The 50 buildings that make up Louisbourg, were reconstructed on the ruins of the original destroyed Fortress in the 1960's. The timing was fortuitous.  Coal mining was in decline, and it was perceived that reconstruction of Louisbourg would provide much-needed employment and attract visitors to Cape Breton.  The results are impressive, and well worth a visit.  What is more amazing, is that this recreation, is only on quarter the size of the original !
Barracks and the Powder Magazine.
The Frederick Gate.  

Through this ornate arch came most of the people, news and merchandise of the colony.  Because the water wasn't deep enough, large ships had to anchor offshore, then the crews launched boats and pushed and carried their cargo over the wharf and through the narrow gateway.  Not sure why they thought that was a good idea.  

The King's Bastion Barracks.

To be continued ...


  1. The Fortress looks like a fun place to visit. Glad you've been out & about having fun with your friend!

  2. Wow that place is impressive. Lots to see up there and really lots to photograph for all sorts of reasons.

    I wonder how much it cost to receate the fortress.

    A good history lesson. Nice post, Sybil.

    1. Apparently it cost over $26 million, and 20 years for the reconstruction.

      The hard part with the post was choosing which images to post. It's such a lovely place.

  3. Fancy, as far as forts go.

    1. I had to ask when I was there what the difference is between a Fort and a Fortress. The former is basically a military installation while the latter includes civilians too. i.e. women and children.

  4. Looks like a very cool place to explore! I can't believe you are wearing ski jackets in June!

    1. We couldn't believe we were wearing ski jackets in June. Stay tuned. Two days later we were in T-shirts !

  5. Very cool! (I mean cold...does it ever warm up there?) I love historical places like this, especially when the employees dress up and role play. I spent a Christmas season at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. That was one of my best ever vacations.

    1. This weather was colder than usual. Stay tuned for my next post about Pat's visit. We're in T-shirts.

      I hear Williamsburg is lovely.

  6. What an amazing impressive place you visited. Thanks for inviting us. Love all the details you captured. Aren't those dry stone walls beautifully built ? Did the strawberry tea taste good ?

    1. Thanks Isa, I love stone walls.

      and yes, the tea is delicious !


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