Nova Scotia

Louisbourg 300 celebrations start with a bang

The federal government announced a $1.3-million boost to help the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site in Cape Breton — which has seen a drop in visitors — promote its 300th anniversary.

Ottawa donates $1.3 million to promote historic site

The federal government announced a $1.3-million boost to help the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site in Cape Breton — which has seen a drop in visitors — promote its 300th anniversary.

The fortress's cannons fired toward the harbour to mark the occasion, like they would have during the 1700s when French settlers tried to protect the colony from the British.

Retired businessman Jon Lawrence said it's an anniversary worth celebrating.

Cabinet minister Peter MacKay poses at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. (Wendy Martin/CBC)

"The Fortress of Louisbourg is the greatest thing that ever happened in this area. Our visitors have been declining but I'm sure that Louisbourg 300 will spread the word and we will get more visitors in years to come," he said.

Last year, Parks Canada reported an overall increase in attendance at the province's parks, but the Fortress of Louisbourg saw a 10 per cent drop.

Parks Canada superintendent Chip Bird said Ottawa's contribution will help promote the festivities and help develop new activities to keep visitors around.

"That's really what we want to do with our promotion this time. The visit is not just two or three hours, the visit is a number of days," he said.

Some of the events this summer at the fortress include an encampment, an international gathering of blacksmiths and a performance by 300 fiddlers.

The site is the largest employer in the community.

now