Yes! Two things on our MUST see list while in this area!
Today we drove from Port Hawkesbury up along the Bras d’Or Lake. Such a beautiful drive today. We made sure to stop in Big Pond, birthplace of famous Canadian Folk singer, Rita MacNeil. We even stopped for a short visit at her tea room.
We had a lovely lunch on the Louisburg waterfront and then went to spend some time at the fortress.
The Fortress of Louisbourg is a National Historic Site of Canada. It is an 18th century French Fortress on the coast of Cape Breton. Its two sieges, especially the one of 1758, were turning points in the Anglo-French struggle for what today is Canada.
The original settlement was made in 1713, and initially called Havre à l’Anglois. The fishing port grew to become a major commercial port and a strongly defended fortress. The fortifications eventually surrounded the town. The walls were constructed mainly between 1720 and 1740. By the mid-1740s Louisbourg was one of the most extensive and expensive European fortifications constructed in North America.
Louisbourg itself was a popular port, and was the third busiest port in North America. It was also popular for its exporting of fish, and other products made from fish, such as cod-liver oil. The North Atlantic fishing trade employed over ten thousand people.
A visit to Louisbourg is like stepping back in time or reading through a history book. We just had to spend a few hours here. We took the “time travel tour” and met some “characters” from the past who shared their stories. We even enjoyed a mug of hot cocoa and some tasty bread baked at the kings bakery right there.
Canada’s oldest Lighthouse is located right here at Louisburg as well. Actually the original burned down. There are ruins there and the one standing, the one in the picture is the second oldest.
And then it was on to Sydney… Nova Scotia’s other city.
Cape Breton Island has become home to a significant tourism industry, with Sydney, as the island’s largest urban centre, being a prime beneficiary. Until the early 2000s when its economy was tied to the steel industry, Sydney was overlooked as a tourist destination, but Sydney has recently witnessed a revival as a result of significant government investment in cruise ship facilities and a waterfront revitalization plan which has seen a boardwalk and marinas constructed, and the world’s largest fiddle. I love waterfronts and boardwalks and I wanted to check this out.
Sydney’s tourism draw is increasingly linked to its cultural asset as being the urban heart. Its population is a diverse mixture of nationalities which contributes to various Scottish, Acadian, African Canadian and eastern European cultural events being held throughout the year. Ceilidhs are huge in this area. A cèilidh or ceilidh is a traditional (Gaelic) social gathering, which involves playing folk music with fiddles of course among other instruments and lots of dancing. That’s why the world’s largest fiddle is on Sydney’s waterfront at the new cruise pavilion, it’s great!
We enjoyed ourselves today and are now relaxing in our lovely room on the waterfront!