The pride of this wonderful little place called Louisbourg is obviously the historical fortress. I don't think that anyone would disagree!
However, the town has other things to offer the traveller as well. This is what this page is all about......what else you must see and experience!
The Fortress is Number 1 BUT there are at least 6 others....
1. Louisbourg Lighthouse
This Lighthouse was the first lighthouse in Canada and the second in North America. It stands at the entrance to the harbour where you will have a great view of the fortress.
The original lighthouse was erected in 1734 by the French. The ruins are still visible today. The present one dates from 1923.
To get to the lighthouse, take Havenside Road located after the Visitor Information Office and continue about 3.5 km to Lighthouse Point. A hiking trail starts at Lighthouse point and continues along the coast.
I love hiking along the coast but it can get quite chilly so be prepared. The first couple of kilometers of this trail are not difficult, however, it does get more rugged so please be careful!! Don't forget the camera!
2. The Playhouse
The Playhouse has an interesting history that is a well-kept secret. It began life in 1993 as part of a movie set for the Walt Disney movie Squanto: A Warrior's Tale. It was built on the grounds of the fortress and then moved to the centre of town afterward.
It now plays host to dozens of entertainment events throughout the year. The interior features 220-seats in the round and has a rustic charm. There is also a gift shop and tea and Cape Breton oatcakes are served during the intermission of all shows.
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3. The Crab Fest
The Crab Fest is celebrated the first weekend August every year. If you love good music, fresh mussels and fresh crab this is the place to be! This is my nephew, Travis, getting ready to enjoy some crab!
The party starts Friday night at 7:30pm and will feature fresh mussels and great entertainment!
Delicious crab dinners are sold Saturday starting at noon until there are none left!
4. The Sydney & Louisbourg Railway Museum
The Railway Museum is a Nova Scotia Railway Heritage Museum. The 1895 station and freight shed have been designated Provincial Heritage Properties. Inside the museum you'll see the story behind the railway and its importance to the area.
It has a great location in the middle of town and is also the Visitor Information Centre for the town.
5. Beaches & Hiking
Louisbourg is a great place for the visitor that loves the outdoors. I mentioned Lighthouse Point and its hiking trail BUT there are more!
Driving along the main street you will eventually see a sign indicating Kennington Cove. It is about 7 km (4mi) from the town. It has a beautiful sandy beach, picnic facilities and a hiking trail. The English forces that captured the fortress landed on these beaches.
There are no other facilities or services so make sure you take what you need to explore. The hiking trail is not really maintained so use caution.
There are several walking trails close to the fortress. They are not long but still interesting. The Mi'kmaw Trail, Royal Battery Trail and Wolfe's Redoubt Trail are not far from the Parks Canada Visitor Centre as you make your way to the fortress. Ask the friendly staff and they will certainly point you in the right direction.
The Ruins Walk (2.3 km/1.44 mi) is within the fortress walls and traces through those areas of the ruins that have not been reconstructed. I love this walk. Again, ask the fortress staff and they will help you out!!
6. Scuba Diving
This coastline is a treasure chest waiting to be explored by recreational divers. You may have heard the story about the discovery of the French ship, Le Chameau, in 1965 just off this coast. It was a ship used to transport passengers and supplies to New France in the 1700s. It sank in 1725 in a storm. Pieces of silver and gold were recovered when it was found.
There are many wrecks waiting to be explored. Louisbourg Scuba Services will lead you to The Celebre (1758), the Evelyn (1913) and the Prudent (1758) and many others. They also offer courses in scuba diving and are well known in the diving world.