Our Historic Attractions
The Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site is our major attraction. It is a historical reconstruction of a part of the 18th-century French fortified town of Louisbourg. In the early 1700s the French colony was home to 2100 civilians and a garrison of 700 soldiers. Louisbourg was important because of the fishery and as a hub for international trade between France, the West Indies, Quebec, Acadia and New England. In addition to massive stone fortification walls ‘there are over 50 reconstructed buildings on site covering a 12 acre area. Some of these buildings are interpreted by staff in period costume and are more than willing to answer all of your questions. (more information on the Fortress)
The Sydney & Louisbourg Railway Museum consists of an 1895 station and freight shed, both designated Provincial Heritage Properties. In the museum there are artefacts and exhibits relating to the history of the S&L railway. In the freight shed there is a model of the S&L line as it existed in the 1940/60 period. A modern “round house” which is nearby is used to store rolling stock in the winter. In the summer it houses and exhibit of quilts, a Marconi wireless exhibit and hosts evenings of local entertainment.
The Louisbourg Lighthouse
The Louisbourg lighthouse is located at the entrance of the harbour. It is perched on a volcanically formed outcrop of rock. Nearby are the ruins of the 18th-century French lighthouse and a 19th century lighthouse. From the lighthouse there are excellent vistas along the coastline, out into the Atlantic ocean and across the harbour to the Fortress.
Louisbourg Harbour has been a haven for hundreds of years. The first recorded visit by a European was on July 7, 1597, when Captain Charles Leigh in the Chancewell sailed into the English port.
There are two beautiful ocean beaches offering supervised and non-supervised swimming at nearby Kennington Cove and Anson’s Cove, accessible until September 30.
The Louisbourg Playhouse
The Louisbourg Playhouse is located in the centre of town. It began life as 17th century “bear pit” on the set of the Walt Disney movie Squanto: A Warrior’s Tale. A number of conveniences have been added by the Playhouse Society but the interior still retains the rustic and rough hewn character of the original. Throughout the summer and fall the Playhouse features a variety of entertainments at 8PM each evening.
For those who like a diving adventure there are plenty in Louisbourg. There are wrecks of French men-of-war from the siege of 1758 lying on the bottom. Louisbourg Harbour is a protected area but you may visit with a guide.
Located on Louisbourg’s waterfront the boardwalk is a pleasant place to spend an evening. There is a wharf where visiting sailing vessels dock and it is just a few minutes walk from the large government wharf where fishing boats, cruise ships and coast guard vessels dock.
Walking around the community and along the north shore of the harbour is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon or evening. For the more adventurous there is the Simon’s Point walking trail in the National Historic Site which leads to the coast. You can spend many hours walking along the coast from the lighthouse or from Kennington Cove.