This week I was fortunate enough to go on a private tour of the reconstructed 1700 French city Fort Louisbourg in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia. We were transported back in time to the 1700s where the French city and its townsfolk have been recreated. Every character, from a local soldier outside the prison to the monk in a residential house, engages with visitors and takes on the role as realistically as they can. At first it’s a bit unnerving with comments such as, “We only bath once a year”. However, this approach along with the accurate reconstruction and attention to detail seen in the costumes, interiors and exteriors effectively transports visitors back to that time period.
After exploring the Fort’s buildings, gardens and sea views, we went for lunch at the local restaurant. The tables were simply set with recreated Louisbourg china, over-sized white linen napkins and old school tin cups, jugs and plates. We enjoyed a traditional 1700 meal starting with vegetable soup, wood-fired salmon, trout and pork with rice and vegatables with a delicious bread and butter pudding. Our waiter, or madame, treated our group as a crew from the 1700s. She served the captain first, offered our first mate, Ryan, four of her twelve daughters’ hand in marriage, and wished us calm seas as we departed with full bellies.
Our tour guide, Hilda, who is a descendant of one of the 1700 settlers bid us farewell with this lovely phrase:
Yesterday was the past, tomorrow is the future which is a mystery, and today is a gift, that’s why it is called a gift!