Nova Scotia

You can now fire a cannon at Fortress Louisbourg

Parks Canada wants visitors to Fortress Louisbourg to have a ball this summer — a cannon ball.

All visitors can learn about 18th century French artillery science and fire away

The professionals fire the Fortress Louisbourg gun. (Courtesy of Parks Canada)

Would you like to shoot a cannon? Of course you would. And now you can.

Parks Canada wants visitors to Fortress Louisbourg to have a ball this summer — a cannon ball. Troy Allen, an interpretation coordinator at the Cape Breton, N.S., site, said it lets people get close to history.

“We’ve done it for special guests in the past and they’ve always made a deep connection when they fired that cannon. You get to feel it,” he says. "It's quite a blast."

So now, any visitors can try it out. Don a tricorn hat, pull on the woollen clothes, and head for the two-tonne cannon.

Sound dangerous? 

“Parks Canada is a leader in historic weapon safety,” Allen said. “The cannon they’re firing is a reproduction of an 18th century cannon. It’s not an actual antique cannon. There have been modifications to it that make it even safer than an 18th century cannon."

The gun-shy can overcome their fear by turning up at the fortress during July and August and take 30 minutes to buff up on French colonial artillery science. It costs $36.80 and can be booked online

That was the most awesomest thing.- Colin Mayers

Then, fire away. A two-metre flame roars from the cannon's maw. Sadly, a cannon ball does not follow for safety reasons. 

Cathy Mayers, visiting from Texas, took one of the first shots. Her young son Colin watched in amazement. He had predicted failure. 

“That was the most awesomest thing,” he said after she fired the big gun. “It’s a rush. I see a lot of people doing special things, but I never expected my mom to be doing one of them.”

“We’ll have to TripAdvisor this,” his mother answered.