It seemed fitting that Bones and I would spend Canada Day, in one of our amazing Canadian National Historic Sites…Fortress Louisbourg.
Slated as the largest reconstruction project in North America with rebuilding that began in the 1960s, the original settlement was founded in 1713 by the French and was an active port surrounded by a fortress to protect it from the threat of British invasion. Louisbourg was attacked twice and destroyed in the 1760s.
Visiting Louisbourg is like stepping back in time to see what it was like when it was once a village bustling with fishing and trade. The buildings in both the Fortress and the village have re-enactors showing life as wealthy merchants, servants, soldiers and clergy…all working and playing as life would have been in 1744.
While strolling through the streets and exploring the various buildings…the Blacksmith pounds his hammer, soldiers gather in their barracks playing instruments, servants prepare the evening meal, folks dance and carry on and women hand wash the clothes outside their homes…all while the smell of fresh-baked bread fills the air.
You’re spoken to as if these people were truly living in the 18th century…explaining a bit about life the way things used to be…pulling you in to this living history book, as if you were there too…part of the story.
It was a fabulous way to spend Canada Day though we were there for a limited time as we had to head out to drop Bones off for a week-long camp at Cape Breton University…as she tries out for the Provincial Volleyball team (proudly wearing her Canada shirt signed by the entire Canadian Men’s Volleyball Team.)
As we left the park on our way to the university, our car belting out a little Alan Doyle music as we’re on a road trip and obviously…it calls for a little Maritime flare…I took a moment to think of my own history.
Growing up in Newfoundland, July 1st was certainly Canada Day but while the rest of the country celebrated the founding of our nation, July 1st for us was Memorial Day…a day to mark the anniversary of the fighting at Beaumont-Hamel during the First World War. A day when the Newfoundland regiment was all but lost.
This week, I’ve been following Alan Doyle on Twitter and Instagram as he travels through France with Mark Critch and Allan Hawko visiting another one of Canada’s National Historic Sites Beaumont-Hamel…discovering a great part of Newfoundland’s history, singing Ode to Newfoundland at their Memorial Day celebration…sharing our story…taking it all in.
— Alan Doyle (@alanthomasdoyle) June 29, 2015
The fact is, every community has a story and it’s these stories that shape the way we see ourselves…where we’ve been and where we’re going. They show our personalities…what makes us different from other places, what brings us together to form an unbreakable bond.
On Canada Day, I’m reminded how grateful I am for the folks that are making sure these stories are told…and for the places, that keep our history alive.