Plan your visit
Louisbourg is a 40 minute drive from Sydney, Nova Scotia and 5.5 hours from Halifax. Plan at least one full day at the fortress to chat with “locals”, explore selected buildings and watch cultural exhibitions and military demonstrations. If time allows, take part in workshops or follow historical walks outside the fortress walls.
Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site
Louisbourg, Nova Scotia
After crossing the Canso Causeway, you will be faced with two options:
1) Take Highway 105, the Trans-Canada Highway. At Bras d'Or, take Highway 125 to Sydney until you reach Exit 8; then take the first exit off the roundabout, onto Route 22. This route will take you straight to the modern community of Louisbourg. Follow the signs to the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. Approximate travel time: 3 hours.
2) Take Route 4, also called Highway 104. In Sydney River, take the turn-off onto Highway 125, then take Exit 8, taking the first exit off the roundabout, onto Route 22. This route will take you straight to the modern community of Louisbourg. Follow the signs to the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. Approximate travel time: 2.5 hours.
The J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport now offers direct daily flights between Sydney and Toronto, as well as daily flights between Sydney and Halifax. Please check their website for further information.
From the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport, turn left onto Trunk 4 West toward Sydney. After 8 km, turn left onto NS-125 W. After 3.5 km, take Exit 8 for Route 22, and turn left at the bottom of the off-ramp. Continue on Route 22 through the roundabout. This route will take you straight to the modern community of Louisbourg. Follow the signs for the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. Approximate driving time: 35 minutes.
Hours of operation
Open Monday to Friday (except statutory holidays) from October 16, 2017 to May 20, 2018;
Open daily from May 21 to October 14, 2018.
Free admission in 2017. Other fees still apply.
Facilities and services
The following is a list of some services that are available in the modern community of Louisbourg. Please note that some of these services are available on a seasonal basis only. For up-to-date information, please visit www.louisbourg.ca.
- Accommodations (bed & breakfasts, cottages, inns, motel, suites)
- Automated teller machines (ATMs)
- Campground/RV parks
- C@P Site
- Convenience stores
- Doctor's clinic
- Dog daycare
- Gift shops
- Hair stylist
- Liquor store
- Police/fire services
- Post office
- Welcome centre
Gas stations are located along Route 22 before the modern community of Louisbourg.
- Bus Service
- Facility Rentals
- Guide Service
- Historical Research
- Information Desk
- In Case of Emergency
- Lost and Found
Bus service to and from the Fortress of Louisbourg operates from the Parks Canada visitor centre. This service runs during the peak season, and up to the last Thursday in September. All other times, access to the site is by personal vehicle via Entrance 2.
Costumes, Furnishings and Gardens
Two-thirds of our interpretive staff dress in period-style clothing which are faithful reproductions of colonial garb. Our curator of textiles researches patterns, fabrics and existing descriptions as well as preserved originals to create the clothing that brings the class, gender and occupations of the 18th century into tangible reality. Our staff are proud to discuss the authentic details and individual variations of the costumes they wear.
Our buildings are furnished with a wide variety of furniture and daily-life objects. Some are precious originals or antiques from the 18th century; the majority are reproductions. All of the furnishings are in place to help visitors connect with the past.
The ornamental and potager (kitchen) gardens that you see throughout the Fortress of Louisbourg are replicas of original gardens. The style and types of herbs and vegetables planted reflect gardens of the 18th century. Much of the produce is used in our restaurants and in our cooking programs within the animated houses. If you have a keen interest in gardening, our gardens and animals interpreters are available to speak with you about traditional techniques and points of interest. They might even put you to work!
Guided tours are offered during the peak and shoulder seasons. Tickets can be purchased at De la Plagne House.
Private guide services can be arranged by phoning in advance. If interested, please call 902-733-3552.
Accessible guided tours are also available; pre-booking is recommended.
Historical Research / Genealogy
Thousands of archival documents pertaining to 18th century Louisbourg still exist in French, British and North American archives. Parks Canada historians have studied these records to guide the rebuilding of the fortifications and homes of Louisbourg. Continued use of these documents helps to better understand the political, economic and social functions of the community along with the events which occurred there from its founding to its final fall and abandonment.
Parish records and court documents from Louisbourg have been digitized and placed in a searchable database. A computer kiosk is available at the Lartigue House so that you can search for any relatives who may have lived here in the 18th century.
Information Desk / Lost and Found
During our regular visitor season, the Information Desk is located in De la Plagne House. Here you can find out what the latest changes are in daily programming, what activities are special for the day and which buildings have animation. This is also our Lost and Found Centre, so if you're missing a person or have lost an item, check in here and the attendant will help you. In the off-season, please phone 902-733-3552.
In Case of Emergency
Our staff is here to help you in any way they can. If you need assistance during the peak season, you can be sure of finding a staff person in the following areas:
- Lartigue House
- De la Plagne House
- The restaurants
- The visitor centre
Staff can also be found throughout the site in animated areas, in the streets and gardens, and in the King's Bastion.
During the low season, contact the Duty Attendant at 902-304-5629.
Meetings / Conferences / Facility Rental
Looking for a unique place to hold a meeting for a company, board or other group? The Fortress of Louisbourg provides a setting, second to none, with experiences not offered anywhere else. We can customize one day, two days or more, any time of the year.
Imagine a small board meeting in an exquisitely furnished room where grand plans were made, a town was created, and issues of great magnitude were resolved in the 18th century...with no technology to distract you. Take notes with quill and ink. Feel the safety of a soldier at the door. Or, perhaps for your group, technology works. We can also accommodate that need. Ask us about the options we have available, including our screen and sound system.
For your meeting and conference needs, contact us at 902-733-3552.
Parking sites vary both with the time of year you visit and with the particular part of our site that you are visiting. During peak season, parking is available at the Parks Canada visitor centre. From there, buses will transport visitors to the reconstructed site. For after-hours events and when bus service is not available, parking is available on site. To access on-site parking, proceed to Entrance 2 in your personal vehicle. Please remember that when the site is closed, on-site parking is only accessible through participation in a special program or event arranged through the Fortress Louisbourg Association.
Pets are not permitted within the fortified town.
Registered service animals (e.g. guide dogs for the visually impaired) are accepted and may be transported on our buses. All service animals must be leashed and managed by their owners for the safety and comfort of all visitors while on Parks Canada property.
Pets are permitted at the Louisbourg Lighthouse Trail, Old Town Trail and the recreational areas along Kennington Cove Road, but must be leashed and managed by their owners.
Visitors are not permitted to leave pets unattended in a parked vehicle, as this can be harmful to the animal.
Our boutiques are operated by the Fortress Louisbourg Association. During our peak season we have two boutiques to serve you: one of these is located at the Parks Canada visitor centre and the other is located within the fortified town. Both carry a wide range of souvenirs, including postcards and books, clothing items, Full Steam™ coffee and unique reproduction items. Fortress™ Rum is available for purchase at the on-site boutique in the Benoist House (#28 on your visitor map). See the Fortress Louisbourg Association website for further information or to shop online.
Two accessible washrooms are available at the Parks Canada visitor centre during the peak season. Within the Fortress of Louisbourg, accessible washrooms are located near the well on Rue Toulouse and in the Grandchamp House.
Other washrooms within the fortified town are located in the King's Bastion Barracks, at the McLennan Centre, on the second floor of the Ordonnateur's Residence and on the second floor of Hôtel de la Marine. Baby change stations are located at the Parks Canada visitor centre, on Rue Toulouse and in the King's Bastion Barracks washrooms. During the shoulder season, washrooms at King's Bastion Barracks, Rue Toulouse and the McLennan Centre are available for use. During the low season, there are no accessible washroom facilities available; the only washroom available for use is located at the McLennan Centre.
The Fortress of Louisbourg is located on the Atlantic Ocean and, therefore, we experience frequent fluctuations in the weather. With a shift in the wind, a hot, sunny day can turn cold and foggy, with plummeting temperatures. Since much of your visit requires walking outside, you will be more comfortable if you dress for variable conditions and temperatures and wear comfortable shoes...and bring a rain jacket and waterproof footwear, just in case. Expect 18th century conditions!
Our period restaurants offer free wireless Internet connection (Wi-Fi). Free Wi-Fi is also available at the McLennan Centre and at De la Plagne House.
Please connect to SSID "Museum" or SSID "PublicWiFi". No password is required.
- More than 50 buildings have been meticulously reconstructed at Louisbourg, Canada's biggest historical reconstruction, including a dozen furnished and occupied for the public to explore.
- Throughout the summer, authentically clad re-enactors of all ages - from wealthy merchants to poor soldiers – work, play and live in the restored fortress.
- Hands-on 18th century workshops range from rum tasting to firing a real cannon.