It was surreal stepping off the shuttle bus at the Dauphine Gate at the Fortress of Louisbourg. I had managed to catch the second shuttle bus of the day to the once large French Fortified town. The fog had settled in for the long haul, which is no surprising considering where I was in Canada…Cape Breton Island, the furthest east I had ever been in Canada that is. But it certainly added to the atmosphere of that morning.
Louisbourg was established in 1713 as the capital of the newly formed colony of Ile-Royale and quickly grew and by 1752 it had a population of over 4,000 souls and became the third busiest port in North America behind Boston and New York. But the real draw of Louisbourg was the fishing and the fortifications. The trouble was that 28-year construction project that fortified the town had a weakness. The fortifications had been designed around a seaborne assault, any army attacking by land would have the high ground over the town, and reinforcements in any significant number were relatively distant in France and Quebec City. The city came under siege twice the first in 1745 saw it captured by the British and Colonial troops from New England and was returned to France following the War of Austrian Succession, the second siege in 1758 during the Seven Years War (French-Indian War) saw it again captured by the British. The British would use the former French stronghold to launch their final assault on Quebec City ending with the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Sadly the British would destroy the entire town and the fortifications after the end of the was saw the expulsion of France from most of North America.
Thankfully the grounds remained untouched and in 1920 the site was designated a National Historic Site, and forty years later would provide employment for hundreds of out-of-work coal miners on Cape Breton Island who, using traditional 18th-century technique rebuilt a quarter of what Louisbourg used to be. What made Louisbourg special was the people that they have making the site come to life. They love to chat to anyone who shows interest and even poked fun at me for wearing a George III cypher on my shirt (oops) and using a camera. I can certainly see why fellow 1812 reenactors/merchants who visit the site love it. So yes, if you ever find yourself with a half day free, go and visit the site. And don’t forget to pick up a loaf of bread from the King’s Bakery.
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zess Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 100 @ ASA-100
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 9:00 @ 20C
Meter: Pentax Spotmeter V
Scanner: Epson V700
Editor: Adobe Photoshop CC (2015)