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“Wait until July”

Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Welcome to the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site, a magical place on the edge of a continent where past and present come together to celebrate Canada’s diverse heritage. Please note that we have three seasons throughout the year: Low season Opportunities to experience the Fortress of Louisbourg's quiet streets during the low season allow visitors to imagine life in the toughest of conditions almost 300 years ago. While there are no services available, a low season visit may provide the best opportunity for visitors to experience the stillness of the streets, take in the beauty of the exterior architecture of the buildings, or simply enjoy the treasures that life's quietest moments may bring. For a new way to experience the site in the low season, try our Explora app. Through sound, video, photos, quizzes and text, you will hold stories about Louisbourg in your hands as you walk through both the reconstructed town and the fortress's ruins. Explora is available to download for free at the App Store and through Google Play. Shoulder season For those seeking quiet opportunities and some on-site services, visiting during the shoulder season is recommended. Visitors have the opportunity to enjoy an inspiring setting with beautiful visuals as they stand on our history-laden grounds. Several buildings with exhibits are open for you to discover. Explore the site on your own or embark on an Explora tour of the grounds. To enhance your visit you may purchase a guided tour or participate in the Time Travel program. Accessible guided tours are available as well. We recommend reserving a place on these tours in advance. By the end of June, the site will begin to fill with costumed interpreters as we ramp up for peak season. After Labour Day, the Fortress of Louisbourg winds down once again with costumed animators interpreting some buildings into September. No matter the season, be sure to find out from reception what activities and experiences may be on offer that day. Peak Season Peak season brings a different kind of magic on-site as costumed people add life to the streets and the homes. A foggy day cloaks the site in mystery and creates scenes and images not to be forgotten. A cold day with wind and rain may draw visitors to the warmth of a welcoming fire or to the cozy inn for a warming bowl of soup. A hot day shows the town and its various gardens at their brightest. On summer feast days colour and pageantry break the routine of daily life as the townspeople promenade in their finery. Chores are the order of the day on summer and fall mornings. With the rooster's crow comes bread from the ovens that supplies both soldiers and hungry visitors. Louisbourg's inhabitants are happy to share their stories, and can be found working the forge, tending the gardens and running the kitchens. The beat of drums and the chime of the garrison clock order the soldiers' day. The sound of a cannon marks midday. You can even fire a cannon or musket yourself by taking part in our 'Have a Blast' or 'Have a Ball' programs. Music might be heard from a waterfront tavern. Children play games in the streets, while the sentry at the gate challenges those who wish to enter the walled town. A public punishment gathers spectators. Sheep run through the streets, called home by the stable hand. Each hour offers something unique and real. During the peak season you can immerse yourself in an 18th century dining experience, available daily, at the Hotel de la Marine and Grandchamp House. For those who prefer a modern experience L'Epee Royale Cafe offers a cozy stop for hot and cold beverages and a variety of pastries. Groups can pre-arrange a dining experience by calling 902-733-3552. The daily fare varies with the season. Please check in advance for menu options and our ability to accommodate any special dietary requirements. Hours of Operation Low season: October 11, 2016 - May 21, 2017) Open Monday to Friday (except statutory holidays) 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Shoulder Season: May 22 2017 to June 30 2017 and September 5 2017 to October 9, 2017 Open 7 days per week 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Peak Season: July 1 - September 4 Open 7 days per week 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Dining Establishment Hours of Operation Grandchamp House Lower class (Less formal dining) July 1 - August 25 (Doors open at 10:30 a.m.) Hotel de la Marine Upper class (More formal dining) July 1 - August 25 (Doors open at 11 a.m.) Hotel de la Marine Lower class (Less formal dining) August 26 - October 9 2017 (Doors open at 10:30 a.m.) L'Epee Royale Cafe May 22 - October 9 2017 (Doors open at 10 a.m.) When the Fortress of Louisbourg is in low season, programs and services are provided through the Fortress Louisbourg Association after-hours programs. Whether it's the bustling street or the solitude of the shore, a visit to the Fortress of Louisbourg offers many opportunities for memorable experiences.
Level Contributor
91 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Wait until July”
Reviewed July 15, 2013

We knew the fort was not completely open until after Canada Day (not Memorial Day as one reviewer wrote). Canada Day is July 1. We were still not prepared for how little of the fort was open. What we saw was very interesting, and they did not charge the high season entrance fee, but we wished that for the 300th year, there would have been something special. We also wanted to eat in the restaurant that serves period foods in a period setting. When we saw how long the wait was and that there were empty tables, we asked if there was a bus tour coming. We were told,"No." We did eventually get our lunch and watched as a tour group was seated in more than half of the room. When we questioned again, we were told that it was a tour group but not a bus tour. I though this was unnecessarily specific and shows how tour groups are favored. This is clearly an interesting place to visit but I would only recommen the high season.

Visited June 2013
1 Thank Davetnr2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,385 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
124 reviews
99 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“I wish we'd had more time to spend there.”
Reviewed July 14, 2013

They've done a stunningly good job reconstructing and bringing this fort to life. We only had half a day to explore and I could have easily been there for many more hours.

My daughter did the kids tour and really enjoyed it. The kids on the tour we're given special hats to wear and got to interact with more of the costumed actors. On my daughter's tour, they learned how to drill with muskets with some of the troupes, then they learned about edible plants in the garden, then they helped feed the sheep and finally used stuffed models and wooden knives to learn how to prepare cod for salting.

A few notes for those who have to see Louisbourg in a hurry...
1) You have to take a bus from the parking area to the fort. The bus runs every 15 min so don't forget to work that into your schedule
2) There was no fast food in the the 18th century so there is none in the park, if you don't want to do a sit down meal, bring it with you.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Heartfruit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Clearwater, Florida, United States
Level Contributor
34 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“History brought to life”
Reviewed July 12, 2013

This piece of North American history has been restored to its 18th century glory. The Governor's quarters, store rooms, and carpentry shops are worth the trip to see how the French lived on this continent 300 years ago. Quite well, frankly.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Allan G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Everett, Washington
Level Contributor
239 reviews
95 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 159 helpful votes
“Much, much more than we expected”
Reviewed July 11, 2013

The AAA guide book said we should expect to spend a day there, but until we arrived on site we thought that was either an error or an exaggeration. We were very wrong. We did indeed spend a full day there because there is so very much to see.

Although only about 20% of the town is reconstructed it still covers a huge area. Inside some buildings is a museum on various topics and other interiors look as they would have centuries ago. The houses' contents show how people lived and the workshops and stores show what they did. One guy was building a boat, another was black smithing, yet another was baking, etc., and soldiers abounded. The staff is in costume to play their roles and answer questions about their characters' lives and the times. Those conversations all were highlights as the staff is knowledgeable and play their roles well.

At various times during the day the soldiers explained then performed rifle firing, cannon firing, drilling, etc. The crafts people worked throughout the day.

The restaurants there were also set in that era with the waitresses appropriately dressed and food of the period on the menu. Even the tableware were replicas of the authentic articles. Everything we ordered was quite tasty and priced like any typical restaurant. When we asked our server if waitresses of the day would take tips, she replied that she would accept either money or livestock.

Fortunately the restrooms in the village are modern.

The visitor center also has a small museum. After buying your ticket to the village, walk down the ramp through the museum and you will finish at the bus stop for the ride to the island where the village is. Walking or taking a car to the island is not possible. Buses run frequently each way.

People arriving late in the day (they close at 5pm) still pay full admission price but they should save their receipt because it also is valid the next day.

Prior to our arrival we had no idea how very important this site was to the formation and history of Canada. Our visit was a highlight of our week in Nova Scotia and perhaps the largest reconstruction we've ever visited. Although it is almost a six hour drive from Halifax it is well worth it, especially if you visit the Bell museum in Baddeck and the coal museum in Glacé Bay.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank 828TJA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lunenburg, Canada
Level Contributor
175 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
“Well Worth Our Taxes”
Reviewed July 11, 2013

Don't let Stephen Harper find out what a good job these archeologists and historians are doing in Louisbourg. The amazing reconstruction is not to be believed and fine performances by staff who act out their 18th century roles is excellent. Restaurant is authentic (not much choice, but good) for the period, but get there a little before noon as it is small. Guided 1 hour tour is worth the extra $2.40 as it is chock full of info, and stop at the fisherman's cottage on the way in as they provide great and funny commentary on life at that time.

Visited July 2013
2 Thank Compuvideo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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