DescriptionThe first French settlers arrived in Louisbourg Harbour in 1713. Seventeen years later the most formidable French military establishment on the Atlantic was under construction on the southwestern arm of the harbor. The fortress town, surrounded by a masonry and packed-earth wall almost 3.2 kilometres (2 mi.) long, served until 1758 as the governmental, commercial and military center of the French colony that included Cape Breton and Prince Edward islands.
With the development of the coal-mining industry on Cape Breton Island during the 19th century, Louisbourg took on a new role as a shipping center, connected to numerous coal mines by a network of small railroads. Fishing and tourism fuel Louisbourg's economy. The picturesque Havenside district and the town's many wharves, sailing vessels and shore facilities provide an excellent perspective of Louisbourg's fishing industry.
Near the harbor are the ruins of one of the oldest lighthouses in North America. Built 1730-33 by order of Louis XV, the Louisbourg Lighthouse was damaged by fire during the British siege of Louisbourg in 1758. A small exhibit pavilion marks the site. Nightly performances of Cape Breton music, drama, dance and comedy are presented mid-June through October at the Louisbourg Playhouse, a former Walt Disney movie set; phone (902) 733-2996.
Things to SeeFortress of Louisbourg National Historic Sitesee place listing.