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the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada
Fortress of Louisbourg Timeline Site
SURVIVAL OR DESTRUCTION?
The vast size and far-reaching significance of historic Louisbourg astonish tourists today, just as they have impressed visitors for over two centuries.
The notion that Louisbourg is a giant eighteenth century time capsule that survives on a remote Cape Breton coast is perhaps an exaggeration. The site has lived through time and experienced change, some of it quite drastic.
Man has wrought some of this change -- in construction and adaptation of the fortified city, in its destruction and disembowlement. Most recently, we have destroyed part of Louisbourg in reconstituting a portion of its grandeur. Our quest has been to understand how and why it came to be. We have disturbed the past to learn about our roots, about life in a time that no living person can remember.
Louisbourg is a site of epic proportion in North America, a New World site comparable to "the splendid cities of the ancient world". In accordance with the acknowledgement of generations, Canadians have drawn attention to its presence and commemorated its significance. The result has been an enriching, shared perception of our heritage.
Will our children continue to benefit from this rare glimpse into the past? The property is in public custodianship. Preservation has recorded many of its insights and ensured evidence remains in the ground to respond to the questions of future generations. This is the best we can do.
But is it enough? Nature has played a critical role in shaping and preserving this site, and it is active still. Erosion is a major concern. Aerial photographs show the fortification walls that have tumbled as their base receded. Today, 50 foot storm waves threaten to destroy a vital barrier beach. Once it is gone, 3/4 of Louisbourg's historic townsite will flood and disappear into the sea.
Are we among the few privileged to experience this rare link to the past?
"The ruins of Louisbourg repose on a point of land projecting from the western coast; against one side of which the roaring surges of the ocean roll and foam, while the other is laved by the calm waters of the harbour ..." John MacGregor, British America(1832), p.390.
Full of question marks
 John MacGregor, British America (1832), p.392.