Today we headed out to the Fortress of Louisbourg on the east coast of Cape Breton, which is a national historic site. In 1961, the Government of Canada began a $25M project focused on reconstructing what was the French fortress that existed back in the 1700's. The reconstruction focuses on how the fortress would have appeared in 1744 - 1745.
The day was pretty dreary looking - the sky was clouded over and it was pretty humid - but we figured it would still be alright weather for checking out the Fortress. Where we are camped is more inland though, and the closer we got to the Fortress of Louisbourg the foggier it became. By the time we got there, you could just see the fog rolling across the landscape. I was really regretting the dress I chose to wear that day - it was pretty chilly out there!
The fortress was pretty interesting and we spent the majority of the afternoon there. There are close to 60 buildings that have been reconstructed and there are costumed staff that play the roles of the village people and military figures that would have been living in the fortress at the time. The Government was able to recreate these buildings through a significant amount of research and archaeological excavations. There were more than 750,000 pages of documents and 500 maps and plans that were copied from archives in France, England, Scotland, the U.S. and Canada to figure out what the buildings would have looked like and who owned each building, and I must say they did a pretty good job! The actual construction of the project was largely done by former miners who were all retrained in the trades after the collapse of the mining industry out here.
Interesting fact about the Fortress of Lousibourg: Construction began in 1719 by the French and was completed only on the eve of the first siege by the British in 1745. Within 46 days of the invasion, the fortress was captured. Then in 1748 the town the was restored back to the French through the signing of a treaty. Ten years after that, the British invaded again the fortress was captured in seven weeks' time. The British were determined that the French would never again have a fortified base here, and so they destroyed the fortress walls.
After spending the majority of the afternoon learning about life for the French here, we decided to head out around 4:30. We were going to make a stop in Sydney as it is fairly close to Louisbourg, but as we were on our way there we happened to check Mom and Dad's emails. One email happened to be from Whycocomagh Provincial Park, letting us know that they were evacuating the park because of the coming hurricane and that the park would be closing at 5:00 (and we were about 1 ½ hours away…); we would have to leave and they would issue a refund for any days that we had already paid for and not used. (Department of Natural Resources had decided to close all provincial parks until at least Sunday, when they would assess any damage and whether parks could be reopened.) So our plans to go into Sydney quickly changed and we headed back to the park. First time getting evicted and we didn't even do anything wrong!!
There are a few private campgrounds around Baddeck (which is about 30 km away from Whycocmagh Park), so we stopped in at one to see if they had some campsites available until we head to Newfoundland. And luckily for us, they had a few we could choose from, so we booked into there for the next four nights. With that, we continued on to Whycocomagh, packed up the camper and made our way to the next campground.
Once we were all set up in our new campsite, I checked the weather for tomorrow; according to the weather site I was checking, winds of up to 85 km/h with gusts to 122 km/h are predicted for tomorrow afternoon! By the time the hurricane hits the Maritimes, it is not going to be a hurricane, but will rather be a post Tropical Storm. I'm curious to see what this tropical storm brings and what the weather will actually be like here!