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Posted By Robin & Jim

We took our rental car and drove over to the far eastern shore of Cape Breton to spend the day at Parks Canada's restored fort at Louisbourg.  It's a huge reconstruction of only 1/5 of the original fort that the French constructed here to protect their interests in the mid-1700s.  Louisbourg provided terrific protection to seaward, but unfortunately neglected to adequately address the boggy landward approach.  The fort was taken by the British, given back to France as part of a treaty a few years later, and taken a second time.  It eventually fell into ruin and became the subject of an extensive archaeological dig in the 1960s.  It has been carefully and faithfully reconstructed to historical correctness, and is a truly impressive sight.
What makes Louisbourg so special is that it is animated with actors in period costumes who act out life in the fort in 1744.  There are soldiers as well as merchants and aristocracy.  Entrance to the fort requires some gracious words spoken in one's best French to the guard at the gate!

gate guard

There are parades...

soldier parade

...cannon demonstrations...

cannon firing

...and there are many exhibits and interesting things to experience.  The town is basically open and you can wander into any open buildings.  You might find a small museum exhibit about a particular aspect of history or the reconstruction, or live demonstrations of blacksmithing or the different types of breads made for the various classes of people living there.  I love that the fort is left for you to explore and discover.
The aristocracy gave a demonstration of dancing and music, and were around town available for questions.

aristocrats

We ate lunch in the commoner's inn, where soldiers and the working class ate.  It was a very realistic experience, with big cloth napkins that we tied around our necks (as was the custom).  We were served either a seafood dish or a stew with beef and root vegetables, eaten with a large metal spoon - the only utensil provided.  It's just a great place and there is so much to learn and discover and experience!

drummer

 
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