LOUISBOURG (Nova Scotia)
Home to a unique 18th-century fortress city, visit Louisbourg to be transported back in time, to an immersive recreation of life in an authentic fortified French outpost. Named Louisbourg after the French King Louis XIV - this easterly settlement was favoured thanks to its position close to the French colonies, and the expedited route it offered across the waves back to Europe. Set among Cape Breton Island's thrilling, rugged coastal scenery, bask in Louisbourg's glorious seascapes and evocative, centuries-old history.
Located close to the most easterly point of Nova Scotia, and overlooking the entrance to the St Lawrence River from the Atlantic, there were few better locations to build such an imposing fortress, as the French and British jostled for these lands. Louisbourg is one of North America’s most impressive and was constructed with 2.5 miles of thick walls around it. While practically impenetrable from the sea, it was undone by a land assault in 1745, and ultimately in 1758 - when it was largely destroyed by the British, swaying the course of Canadian history in the process.
Now painstakingly reconstructed, you can enter a timewarp to experience life in this unique fortress. Walk streets that echo with the clinking of smithy hammers, and feel the full force of canons shaking the ground as they fire. Be sure to try some oaky local rum too – the vice of choice for Louisbourg’s former residents. Nearby, stroll along the stirring coastline to the tip of the peninsula, which is crowned by Lighthouse Point. A popular spot to enjoy some sandwiches and a sit-down, it’s the site of the first lighthouse to be constructed in Canada, all the way back in 1734. The handheld fog horn can still be wound up to blare out warnings through the gloomy blanket.