Fort Beauséjour – Fort Cumberland National Historic Site of Canada
Visitor reception centre, Fort Beaséjour-Fort-Cumberland NHSC. © Parks Canada
On-line guided Tour
What You See on the Site
You drive into Fort Beauséjour-Fort Cumberland National Historic Site of Canada along the side of a ridge rising above the surrounding salt marshes. The fort’s green ramparts are on your right and the site's strategic advantage is self-evident. A brisk walk up the slope toward the fort provides you with a commanding panoramic view. At the top of the hill, you see the ruins of the fort ahead and the visitor centre to the right. A visit to the centre's exhibits is a good place to start.
Enter the building and receive an orientation to the site. Welcome! Start our tour with an exhibit tracing the fort’s history including a model and a video on the siege of 1755. Next is an exhibit of historic paintings depicting life in the garrison. The third wing features artifacts collected over the seventy-five years the museum has served the region.
Outside, once again, we proceed to the fort’s ruins, stopping to view interpretive signs, a cannon and mortar display, and the wonderful views en route. We enter through a gate built by the British after the siege. The fort follows the design of the French military engineer, Vauban. It's a star-shaped pentagon with reinforced bastions at the five points.
Walking right, we see the entrance to the well casemate (underground tunnel) and we can visit this stone and wood storeroom/bomb shelter from the French era. Back outside, we pass the foundation of a former soldiers’ barracks. Climb the grassy slopes to the heights of the next bastion to look over the British defensive trenches. Then we go back down inside to the British vaulted casemate with its arched brick ceiling and heavy stone walls. Hear our footsteps echo as we walk through.
Guided tour of fort ruins,Fort Beauséjour − Fort Cumberland NHSC.
© Parks Canada
Skirting the central parade square, we pass another barracks foundation en route to the French timber casemate. Mind your head as we bend to enter. This boat-shaped space is built entirely of large squared timbers. It, too, was used for storage or as a shelter. On our right, as we follow the circuit trail, lies a stone curtain wall built by the British. It features a row of musket loopholes for close infantry defence.
Climbing the bastion ahead of us, past the remains of an 1812-powder magazine, we stand at the site's best viewpoint. Drink in a 360 o vista that allows you to gaze as far as the eye can see over the local geography on the Chignecto Isthmus Walk down into the fort and turn left to exit by the sallyport, a short curved tunnel designed to let soldiers exit unobserved.
As we pass the remnants of a British gunpowder magazine and a well, we see before us a diamond-shaped grassed area called the spur. We arrive back at our starting point, the chateau-style visitor centre, itself now preserved as a federal heritage building. Thanks for coming on our tour. Our word pictures don't do justice to the ambience of this heritage landscape. We look forward to seeing you in person.