Louisbourg, Nova Scotia Canada

Discover Louisbourg, Nova Scotia: A Blend of History and Charm

Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, is an unincorporated community and former town nestled in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. This quaint community is steeped in history and offers a unique blend of past and present.

The Rich History of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia

The French military established the Fortress of Louisbourg in 1713, naming it in honour of Louis XIV. This fortified seaport on the southwest part of the harbour was populated by settlers from the evacuated Terre-Neuve colony. The harbour had been in use by European mariners since the 1590s, known then as English Port and Havre à l'Anglois.

The Siege of Louisbourg in 1745 saw the settlement burned on the first day of the British landing. The French abandoned the Grand Battery, which the British occupied the following day. The fortress was returned to France in 1748, only to be recaptured by the British in 1758. The fortifications were demolished in 1760, and the town-site was abandoned by British forces in 1768. A small civilian population continued to live there after the military left.

English settlers later built a small fishing village across the harbour from the abandoned fortress site. The village grew slowly, with additional Loyalists settlers arriving in the 1780s. The harbour became more accessible with the construction of the second Louisbourg Lighthouse in 1842 on the site of the original French lighthouse destroyed in 1758.

The arrival of the Sydney and Louisburg Railway in 1894 brought heavy volumes of winter coal exports to Louisbourg Harbour's ice-free waters as a winter coal port. The harbour was used by the Canadian government ship Montmagny in 1912 to land bodies from the sinking of the RMS Titanic. In 1913, the Marconi Company established a transatlantic radio transmitting station here.

Incorporated in 1901, the Town of Louisbourg was disincorporated when all municipal units in Cape Breton County were merged into a single tier regional municipality in 1995.

The Name of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia

Pronounced "Lewisburg" by its largely English-speaking population, the present community has been identified by slightly different spellings over the years by both locals and visitors. The town was originally spelled Louisburg, and several companies, including the Sydney and Louisburg Railway, adopted this spelling. On 6 April 1966, the Nova Scotia House of Assembly passed "An Act to Change the Name of the Town of Louisburg," which resulted in the town changing its official name to the original French spelling, Louisbourg.

Demographics of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Louisbourg had a population of 825 living in 377 of its 420 total private dwellings, a change of -5.9% from its 2016 population of 877. With a land area of 3.3 km2 (1.3 sq mi), it had a population density of 250.0/km2 (647.5/sq mi) in 2021.

Climate of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia

Louisbourg experiences a marine-influenced humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb). The highest temperature ever recorded in Louisbourg was 34.0 °C (93 °F) on 2 September 2010 and 15 July 2013. The coldest temperature ever recorded was −26.0 °C (−15 °F) on 18 January 1982.

Louisbourg, Nova Scotia in Fiction

Louisbourg has been mentioned in several works of fiction. It was mentioned in Nathaniel Hawthorne's story Feathertop and is a major setting for Thomas H. Raddall's 1946 novel Roger Sudden. The town "Louisburg" is mentioned in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Evangeline. The 2011 film Take This Waltz begins with a re-enactment scene from the fortress and features the lighthouse in several shots.