Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cape Breton, Fortress Louisbourg and Record Keeping

Following all the fun at the Mayflower Retreat in Pictou my husband and I spent 2 weeks in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. We met our friends Jill and John to begin our tour of Cape Breton. First stop, a local pub for lunch. Lively music was our accompaniment - there was an afternoon of 'Fiddle Jam' in one half of the pub.

Next stop was Fortress Louisbourg, a National Historic Site of Canada. We were joined here by fellow North Saanich friends, Tony and Elaine, who are on a 'round the world tour'!  (You can following their experiences on their blog: It's About Time.

This area on the south shore of Cape Breton was settled by the French in 1713 and became France's most important stronghold and seaport in what is now Atlantic Canada. The site is the largest reconstructed 18th century town in North America.

Approximately 20% of the buildings have been reconstructed - it is a massive site! This work required a co-ordinated effort by archaeologists, historians, engineers, and architects and many of the workers on the site were coal miners from the Cape Breton area. Many of these men learned learned French masonry techniques from the 18th century and other skills to create an accurate replica. Where possible, many of the original stones were used in the reconstruction.

Costumed interpreters are located throughout the site; they paint the picture of life as it was in 1744. We met many of these guides and learned about their lives.

This servant is making bobbin-lace inside one of the homes. Her fingers just flew as she moved the small bobbins to create the pattern.

And here is the kitchen area in another home.

This scoundrel has been caught stealing a 'mouton' (a sheep) and is being marched to the waterfront where he will spend some time tied to a large wooden horse while he thinks about his crime.....

as a British naval officer looks on. He is being sent back to England in a prisoner exchange. If you look closely he is still permitted to carry his sword and is accorded the priviledges that befit his rank!

 At the end of the day, one of the cannons is fired, to the delight of the assembled crowds.

We learned about the life of common soldiers in the barracks, saw the Chapelle St. Louis, Louisbourg's garrison chapel learned how detailed records from the 18th century were so important for the reconstruction effort.

As quilters, many of us have a particular interest in keeping records - or we should. Seeing how critcal this was to create the site reinforces to me how important it is that we label our work so future generations can know a bit about us. I hope you label all your quilts and I encourage you to photograph them and record information about your work.

1 comment:

Sewnuts said...

I think that place is fascinating - although when we visited it was very foggy so could not get a distant pic. of the fortress. It did, though lend an eerie "reality" feeling when wondering the fortress in the fog as felt like you were in that time! You had great weather - and wonderful pictures!