Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cape Breton Island

Cape Breton Island lies off the northeastern cost of Nova Scotia. It’s separated from the mainland of Nova Scotia by the Straight of Canso. The causeway connecting the two was built in 1955. Prior to that a ferry was used. There are three distinct cultures on the Island. The Mikmaq “Indians” or First Nations as they are referred to in Canada, the Gaelic/Scottish and the Acadians/French. Music & dance are the mainstay entertainment on Cape Breton.
On Monday the 13th, we drove from Halifax and spent the night at the Whycocomagh Provincial Park near Baddeck. A nice, well kept park in the middle of a pine forest. It rained most of the day. The next morning we drove to Baddeck and parked by the fishing dock. Walked around town for a while treating ourselves to a wonderful flax & carrot muffin. We ran into some friends we had made at a campground earlier in this trip. They too were touring Cape Breton.
We continued on to Louisbourg staying at the Village owner campground right downtown. Lucked out by getting the last campsite available. Louisbourg is a beautiful little town. Reminds us of the small coastal towns in Maine.
In the evening we went to a performance at the Louisbourg Playhouse. We say Lyrics & Laughter 2007. “A spirited performance of Cape Breton music and comedy in the historic atmosphere of the Playhouse”. We don’t recall ever attending a more entertaining event. The cast was composed of six of the most talented young singers & dancers. They are all local college students home for the summer. There was this one young women who played five different instruments, the fiddle, piano, guitar, bodhran (a type of drum), djembe (another drum), had a wonderful singing voice plus was the lead step dancer. Amazing. The weather today wasn’t much. Cool & misty. Rained hard most of the night.
On Wednesday we went to the Fortress of Louisbourg. The fort was founded by the French in 1713, captured by the British in 1745, returned to the French in 1748 by a treaty, captured again by the British in 1758 then abandoned by the British in 1768. When the local coal mines began shutting down in the 1960’s, Canada helped offset the very high unemployment rate by rebuilding the Fortress to appear as it did in 1744. “Each summer the Fortress springs to life as dozens of costumed animators become the town’s residents of the summer of 1744. Period homes and exhibits line the central streets of Rue Toulouse and Rue Royale, as well as along the busy waterfront”. A very enjoyable day. Bright & sunny.

Today, Thursday, was a down day. Cleaned up the camper, did some maintenance stuff, took walks and went out for dinner.