28 articles Cape Breton

Transfortressing Attendance

Attendance at the Fortress of Louisbourg has been up nearly 50% this summer, with well over 100,000 visitors arriving by car, motorcycle, motor home, or cruise-ship-by-way-of-coach-bus. The spike in attendance is partly due to uncommonly good weather, but mostly we can thank the federal government for its Canada 150-themed waiving of admission. As we marvelled…

Share

Transfortressing Nature

In June, it’s the swallows. They swoop down from roofs and rafters, trailing their forked tails as they search out the puddles surrounding the Dauphin Gate. On foggy Louisbourg mornings, they seem like stealth bombers, manifesting suddenly from nowhere as they zero in on their goal. They slurp up globs of mud in their stubby…

Share

Transforming Wistfulness

I recently wrote about the regret I feel over France. The eight months we spent there felt wasted to me, because of the cultural whiplash I inflicted upon our daughter; because of the resulting need to homeschool her for half our time in Lille; and because that homeshooling robbed me of the chance to write…

Share

Transfortressing Gratitude

The Fortress gig is the first job that has transformed me physically. It’s not exactly profound, but it’s a telling reveal of my privilege that, at 42, I’m developing work calluses for the first time. Mind you, the calluses are from carrying a replica 18th-century musket around all day, so that’s cool. Similarly, my tan…

Share

Transfortressing History, Part Deux

Who owns history? The aphorism goes, “History is written by winners,” but what if it’s not entirely clear who wins? What if countries win, lose, and draw their way through a cycle of wars and conquests and capitulations, until a tide of political reformation washes over all their sand castles and leaves… a reconstructed, 300-year-old…

Share

Transfortressing the Gate

Getting to the Fortress can be difficult. The modern-day town of Louisbourg is a pleasant 40-minute drive from Sydney, although if you’re coming from the airport or the Newfoundland ferry, you’d need to add another 20 minutes of driving time. But the National Historic site – that is, the site of the original French fortress,…

Share

Transfortressing Francais

My favourite question so far from a Louisbourg visitor – a retiree from West Virginia – had nothing whatsoever to do with the 18th century, or with French colonialism. It went (somewhat awkwardly) like this: “If a young Canadian who speaks English wanted to date a Canadian who speaks French… how would that work?” The…

Share