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Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site


Special Events

2016 — Celebrate Women

The year marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Canada. To highlight this milestone in our history, Parks Canada joins partners in the celebration of historic and contemporary women whose lives have touched Cape Breton Island.

The 2016 events that are specially marked (♀) will have a component that acknowledges women's contributions and raises awareness of what they have accomplished.

Special Events


June 9-12
Roots to Boots Festival
Hiking, music and stories in Louisbourg and Chéticamp
June 25-26


July 1
Canada Day
Free admission
July 7, 14, 28
July 16-17
Paranormal Weekend
The past is eerily present
July 16
Parks Day
A time to enjoy our natural and cultural treasures
July 22-24
A multicultural fair from the 1700s
July 31
Storm the Fortress
Motorcyclists invade the Fortress at dusk!


August 4, 11, 18, 25
August 13
Fab Forts
Spotlight on historic military strongholds
August 13
Race Through Time
13 km race through the Fortress and the modern town
August 20
The Great Louisbourg Sleepover
Overnight camping with entertainment
August 21
Feast of Saint Louis
A traditional feast with a new twist


September 1
September 3
Hammer In
Blacksmithing festival
September 17
Louisbourg Live: Fortress Feast
A distinctive fundraising event
September 20, 27


October 4, 11, 18, 25
October 9
Step Into the Past
Celtic Colours International Festival
October 12
Connecting Threads
18th century fibre craft workshops
October 14
Music of the Night
Celtic Colours International Festival

June 2016

Roots to Boots Festival

June 9-12

The second annual Roots to Boots Festival is held in the communities of Chéticamp and Louisbourg from June 9 to 12, 2016 with a unique blend of entertainment engineered to please cultural enthusiasts: Storytelling, hiking, food, local-flavour concerts, and late night square dances!

In Louisbourg the activities start on June 9 and end on June 11. They include colourful meals, square dances, guided walks on scenic trails and even an antique and custom car show. 

For the full schedule visit

♀ Louisbourg Celebrates: Mi'kmaw Mawiomi

June 18

When the French first came to Louisbourg in 1713, they were welcomed by the Mi’kmaq people and enjoyed a special relationship. Since 2013, Louisbourg has celebrated the Mi’kmaq Nation and the people of Unama’ki with an annual Mawiomi at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site which occurs close to National Aboriginal Day. Through the sharing of food, dance, song, and storytelling, the knowledge is shared with visitors and participants alike. In 2016, when we celebrate the contributions of women to our lives, we will have a special recognition of Mother Earth and Grandmother Moon.

Hosts: Governor of Louisbourg and Ceremonial Presider

12:00 - 12:30 p.m.
Opening Ceremonies / Mi’kmaw Mawiomi:
Smudging Ceremony
Grand Entry (Everyone welcome)
Official Welcome and Opening Words to Mother Earth and Grandmother Moon
12:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Drum & Dance Group Entertainment
Mi’kmaw Storytelling
Craft demonstrations
3:30 - 4:00 p.m.
Closing ceremonies:
Closing Words to Mother Earth and Grandmother Moon
Official gift presentation
Give Away Ceremony
Grand Exit

Traditional Mi’kmaw food is available for sampling. Mi’kmaw crafts of artisans are available for purchase.

Visitors are encouraged to join the circle and be part of the festivities. Traditional protocols are followed and are explained. Certain sacred ceremonies cannot be photographed

  • Free entry to Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia
  • General admission fees apply for regular visitors:
    $7.30 – adult | $6.05 – senior | $3.65 – youth | $18.10 – family*
    Children 5 and under are admitted free.
    *Up to 7 people, with a maximum of 2 adults

♀ Learn to Camp

June 25-26

Think you might want to experience the joy of camping overnight but just need a helping hand? Register for Parks Canada's learn-to camp events, co-presented with MEC! These events, hosted across Canada this summer, offer you the opportunity to learn how to plan and enjoy safe and successful camping trips.

Workshops will be held on camping-related skills: how to set up a tent, cook outdoors, etc. Participants have the opportunity to enjoy exciting interpretive programs and other Parks Canada activities.

The Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site is happy to offer this fun-filled weekend in collaboration with MEC, Fortress Louisbourg Association and Cape Breton’s Family Place Resource Centre for the fifth year in a row.

Campers will pitch their tent on the Terre-Plein (courtyard) of the King’s Bastion, share stories around the campfire and spend the night under the star-filled sky inside the 18th century fortress walls.

Price: $29.30 per person — Children 5 and under: free
All you need is your appetite, sleeping bag and curiosity. Tent provided.
(Includes activities, supper, breakfast and snacks. Entrance fees are separate.) 

For more information on Parks Canada Learn-to Camp experience visit:

July 2016

Canada Day

July 1

We are proud to be Canadian! Parks Canada celebrates Canada Day with free entry to all national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas across the country.

Louisbourg Live: Murder Mystery

July 6, 4, 18
August 4, 11, 18, 25
September 1

The Petticoat Duel: A murder mystery by Eric Letcher

Show starts at 7 p.m.

Tickets: $30 +tax

For more information, phone 902-733-3548 or visit the Fortress Louisbourg Association website.

Parks Day

July 16

A time to enjoy our natural and cultural treasures

Paranormal Weekend

July 16 - 5:30 p.m. to July 17 - 5:00 p.m.

The Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site is one of the best known haunted places in Nova Scotia. Join us as we investigate the veracity of its reputation on July 16, 2016. Rich in history the Fortress of Louisbourg offers unique experiences and this event is sure to deliver.

This special evening includes a Fortress™ Rum tasting, an 18th century inspired meal in a period restaurant, a haunted tour and the exclusive chance to participate in paranormal activities investigations with a team of specialists.

Price: $80 per person, $90 with breakfast

♀ CultureFête

July 22-24

Experience the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Cape Breton's diverse heritage at CultureFête! 

This exciting weekend celebrates food, fashion, music, dance, stories and songs from cultures all over the world. Reenactors transport you back to the 1700s, while artists, artisans and musicians share their talents.  This year, we focus on healthy living, from the 18th century to modern times.  Join us as we honour and embrace all cultures with connections and legacies linked to historic 18th century Louisbourg.

CultureFête is a fantastic opportunity for participants to demonstrate and share aspects of 18th century or present-day life. Through the sale of goods, skill-oriented workshops, performances, storytelling, or a variety of presentations, let the history of Louisbourg inspire you!

This event consists of three theme days:
July 22: Trades and Crafts
July 23: Arts and Culture
July 24: Food and Healthy Living

Storm the Fortress

July 31

Ride your motorcycle into the Fortress of Louisbourg along with hundreds of fellow bikers. A unique opportunity to experience the past from the seat of your bike!

Tickets: $20

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 902-733-3838 or visit the Fortress Louisbourg Association website.

August 2016

Louisbourg Celebrates: Pride Day

August 13

The Fortress of Louisbourg becomes the stage of a special event for the LGBTQ pride community! Enjoy and celebrate the diversity of people on the island and in surrounding communities who share our pride in one another.

♀ Fab Forts

August 13

Join us at the Fortress of Louisbourg as Parks Canada turns the spotlight on its historic military strongholds! Fab Forts, celebrated at national historic sites across the country, is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to discover the central role that forts – and our own fortress – play in community life, and to appreciate their profound importance to Canada over the past four centuries.

Race Through Time

August 13

A race 13 kilometres (8 miles) in length between two towns 303 years apart! For more information, visit

The Great Louisbourg Sleepover

August 20-21

On August 20, we are inviting people to come and enjoy a unique evening at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. Guests will be camping on site, in the area of the King's Bastion, for a special Great Sleepover. The evening starts at 5:00 p.m. just as the site closes for regular visitors. There will be a camp set up just like in the 18th century! Participants will have a chance to learn how to pitch both modern and reproduction tents and how to start a camp fire with a flint and steel! Although times have changed there are some camping basics that are still useful today.

There will be entertainment in the Bigot Theatre. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. At 9:00 p.m. a ghost tour of the Fortress will be happening for those who are not too scared! Then, people who are interested will have the chance to join a team of paranormal activities investigators and maybe find evidence of ghosts. Of course, there will be a camp fire, stories and music are always welcome.

The next morning, breakfast will be available in the Grandchamp restaurant for those who have purchased this additional option.

$45 per person, includes your camping fees, live entertainment on Saturday night, ghost tour, and entry fees for the Fête on Sunday.
Add breakfast on Sunday for only $10.

♀ Feast of Saint Louis

August 21

Eat, drink and be merry!

The Feast of Saint Louis was traditionally observed in 18th century Louisbourg and celebrates the patron saint of the French. The day will include special military demonstrations and a chocolate treat workshop.  There will be upper-class dancing and a garden social at the Engineer's House.

September 2016

Hammer In

September 3

Come out and watch blacksmiths as they demonstrate their skills using 18th - 21st century tools and methods at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. From morning to late afternoon blacksmiths from across Nova Scotia will practice their art and may invite you take part as well! Blacksmithing is an ancient art that is worth protecting.

Free with entry fees

♀ Katharine McLennan Award

September 8

An award ceremony dedicated to celebrating individuals who not only believe in the significance and impact that culture and heritage has on our society, but are trail-blazers in volunteering for this sector.

♀ Louisbourg Live: Fortress Feast

September 17
6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Step back in time with Parks Canada and Fortress Louisbourg Association to experience a spectacular evening in support of the Hospice Palliative Care Society of Cape Breton.

In the 18th century on St. Michael's Feast Day in late September, Louisbourg workers received their wages for the year. It was an occasion of festivities that coincided with harvest. Fortress Feast continues this tradition of celebrating the fall and its goodness with this distinctive fund-raising event. 

  • A Salute to the King with Fortress™ Rum matured on site 
  • A three-course 18th century inspired menu and wine 
  • A lively concert in the Fortress Chapel with the cast of Cape Breton Lyrics and Laughter 
  • A fireworks display that speaks to the pageantry of times past

This magical one-of-kind occasion is one you won't soon forget!

For tickets and additional details contact the Hospice Palliative Care Office at 902-567-8584 or Fortress Louisbourg Association at 902-733-3548.

Tickets: $100 + tax

Louisbourg Live: Haunted Louisbourg Tour

September 20, 27
October 4, 11, 18, 25

Fortress Louisbourg Association and Parks Canada are pleased to present a haunting experience, The Black Arts On Trial on Tuesday evenings. An interactive theatre experience designed to scare and delight its audiences as they scour the town of Louisbourg and participate in an early modern witch hunt. Based on the historical Michel De La Valliere, the father of a Louisbourg captain, a tale of the last witchcraft trial in Canada unfolds within Louisbourg.

For more information on this or other events, or to purchase tickets, contact the Fortress Louisbourg Association at 902-733-3548.

Tickets: $30 + tax and service fee 
No refunds or exchanges - rain or shine.
We recommend warm clothes and comfortable footwear. 

October 2016

Celtic Colours International Festival: Step into the Past

October 9

The evening begins with an 18th century meal served by period-costumed animators and continues with a candlelight concert. As the lanterns guide you from the period café to the picturesque chapel and music rings out, you will find yourself wondering what century you are in. Treat yourself to this one-of-a-kind event. But don't delay. It sells out very quickly.


  • Cruinn
  • Lisa Cameron and Vern MacDougall
  • Patsy Reid
  • Mike Vass

For more information, visit the Celtic Colours International Festival website.

♀ Connecting Threads

October 12
10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Connecting to 18th century women's history and the crafts they created

In association with the Celtic Colours International Festival, the Fortress Louisbourg Association and Parks Canada present Connecting Threads, day-long workshops dedicated to women's domestic arts at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. As part of Celebrate Women 2016, Connecting Threads celebrates the contributions of the colonial woman whose practical creativity helped to clothe her family and contribute to the household economy.

Connecting Threads participants can choose one of four full-day workshops: dyeing, needlework/embroidery, spinning, or knitting.

Workshops will be taught in dyeing, needlework/embroidery, spinning, and knitting. Each workshop lasts five hours with a lunch break. Participants will receive a short orientation tour of the Fortress site followed by hands-on instruction in traditional techniques to produce an 18th century-style take-home project to finish.

Price: $80 per participant (lunch and taxes included; cost of material not included)

To purchase tickets, visit

For more information, please call 902-733-3552.

♀ Celtic Colours International Festival: Music of the Night

October 14

Picture a street lined with candle-lit windows where music and laughter spill out of doors and into the street. Diners finish their 18th century meal and chat excitedly as they move from one stone building to the next, guided by villagers with lanterns. They find historic venues offering music, storytellers, a square dance and, finally, a tavern. The entire village is alive with music! It doesn't matter what century we're in, because this is a unique experience you'll never forget!


  • Delores Boudreau
  • Dawn & Margie Beaton
  • Nicole LeBlanc
  • Mckayla MacNeil
  • Joël Chiasson
  • Alana MacInnes
  • Seonaidh MacIntyre

For more information, visit the Celtic Colours International Festival website.