In 2013, Parks Canada is celebrating the 300th anniversary of the founding of Île Royale and the settlement of Louisbourg, which would become its capital. This summer, Louisbourg300 brings Parks Canada together with community, historical and cultural associations to host an unforgettable celebration of the people and stories that shaped Canada's future.
A Shared StoryIn 1713, a group of displaced French colonists landed on the desolate shores of Île Royale ( Cape Breton) with the goal of building a better life. Facing harsh conditions and the barren wilderness, they worked in harmony to overcome the immense challenge of establishing a strong community for their families. This community was Louisbourg, a thriving Fortress town that over the course of fifty years became a new-world hot spot for commerce and culture alike. Louisbourg was a vibrant place, buzzing with energy and action as cultures from all over the world came together to start a life in the land of opportunity. This meeting of cultures - and the interactions between the French and the English - set the course for this region, shaping the centuries that followed and life as we know it today. Louisbourg was first attacked in 1745 following a declaration of war between Britain and France. Within 46 days of the invasion the fortress was captured by the British. Three years later, the town was restored to the French by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. In 1758, Louisbourg was besieged a second time. Without a strong navy to patrol the sea beyond its walls, Louisbourg was difficult to defend. Attacking with 13,100 troops supported by a 14,000 crew on board 150 ships, a British army captured the fortress in seven weeks. The British proceeded to demolish the fortress walls. The Reconstruction The site would lay in ruins for nearly two centuries, with the exception of a small vibrant fishing community.But Louisbourg's history was far from forgotten. In 1926 Louisbourg was declared a national historic site. In the mid-1930s a modest museum was built to share Louisbourg's story. In 1940 the area was declared a national historic park. Then in 1961, Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker announced the Government of Canada would invest in the partial reconstruction of Louisbourg. An unprecedented undertaking in Canada, the restoration project set out to reconstruct approximately one-fifth of the original town and fortifications. Focus was given to making the restoration as accurate as possible based on historical and archaeological resources. Today, visitors explore the buildings, yards, gardens and streets that were carefully recreated to look as they were during the 1740s, while costumed animators share the many stories of Louisbourg's 18th century residents. Louisbourg Celebrates Get ready for a celebration three hundred years in the making! Join us for Louisbourg300, a grande fête marking the 300th anniversary of the founding of Île Royale - now known as modern day Cape Breton Island - with Louisbourg as its capital. Louisbourg has been perched on the edge of the continent for three centuries. It was once a bustling seaport, a hub for trade and commerce on the Atlantic, a multicultural, multilingual community and France's prize in the new world. Today it is North America's largest historical reconstruction, where thousands of visitors interact with costumed animators immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of this once mighty 18th century French fortress. Located on Cape Breton Island, which is world-renowned for its beauty and the famous Cabot Trail, Louisbourg was named the best place to visit in 2013 by vacay.ca SOURCE Parks Canada