Fort Louisbourg

Overlooking one of the few ice-free harbors in Isle Royale (now Cape Breton Island), the Fortress of Louisbourg defended the valuable north Atlantic cod fishery and the strategic approach to New France via the St. Lawrence River.

fortress of louisbourg


An uninhabited ruin for two centuries, the Fortress of Louisbourg became the site of a massive excavation and reconstruction project from 1959 to 1979. One-quarter of the old town has been rebuilt, accurately furnished, and populated with costumed bilingual interpreters. This "Williamsburg of the North" is now Canada’s preeminent historical park and a world-class cultural site.

fortress of louisbourg


The park’s archaeological collections, which include several million artifacts, comprise an invaluable research tool available for study by visiting scholars. Summer training programs are offered in historical conservation and preservation.

fortress of louisbourg


For more information on the Fortress, link to:

To read about the history and archaeology of the Fortress of Louisbourg, see:

"An Appearance of Strength:" The Fortifications of Louisbourg, two volumes, by Bruce W. Fry (Parks Canada, Ottawa, 1984).

Les modes de vie à Québec et à Louisbourg au milieu du XVIIIe siècle à partir de collections archéologiques, tome 2, Louisbourg, by Paul-Gaston L’Anglais, La collection Patrimoines, Dossier 86 (Quebec, 1994).

The Cod Fishery of Isle Royale, 1713-58, by B.A. Bascom (Environment Canada, Ottawa, 1984).

The Summer of 1744: A Portrait of Life in 18th-Century Louisbourg, by A.B.J. Johnston (Environment Canada, Ottawa, 1991).

Louisbourg Portraits: Life in an Eighteenth-Century Garrison Town, by Christopher Moore (Macmillan, Toronto, 1982).

Family Life in 18th-Century Louisbourg, by Kenneth Donovan. Manuscript Report 271 (Parks Canada, Ottawa, 1977).

Excavations at Fort Michilimackinac: 1978-1979, the Rue de la Babillarde, by Donald P. Heldman and Roger T. Grange, Jr., Archaeological Completion Report 3 (Mackinac State Historic Parks, Mackinac Island, Michigan, 1981).

Craft Industries at Fort Michilimackinac, 1715-1781, by Lynn L. Morand, Archaeological Completion Report 15 (Mackinac State Historic Parks, Mackinac Island, Michigan, 1994).