We spent our first day in Nova Scotia driving down the Northumberland Shore down the red pavement highways past red earth farmlands and the occasional sea harbor. Our first stop of the day is in Pictou, home of the Hector, a replica of the ship that brought the Scottish settlers to the area. Besides the Hector, we see lots of crab and lobster traps and learn lots of things about them, like 1 in 2 million are blue. It’s a small town struggling to stay alive relying on tourism of which we see very little, much of the downtown core is only open Thursday to Sunday.

Our next stop is to the Cape George Lighthouse, a picturesque lighthouse situated high up on a hill overlooking the water – a great place to stop for lunch. It’s so quiet here all you can hear is the sound of a buoy way out to sea.

Our last stop of the day is to Ballantye Cove to learn about the Bluefin tuna industry. While we were there, we also learned about a 12-year-old girl who caught a 600lb tuna by herself. In order to keep the tuna fresh, they have to drag the fish beside the boat to lower the temperature. Once it’s on land, they cut the head and tail off and submerge it in a vat with water and ice before auctioning it off the next day. A lot of the tuna caught is purchased by the Japanese and is airlifted to Japan the next day.

The next day we cross over the Canso causeway into Cape Breton. Traffic is backed up for miles; fortunately, it’s in the other direction. Our first stop of the day is the Fortress of Louisbourg. It was founded by the French in 1713 and fell to the British twice before being demolished in the 1760’s. The fortress was reconstructed starting in the 1960’s using original blueprints, pictures, and the leftover foundations. This is a very large site and we spent a long day here and still did not manage to see it all.

This fortress was very interesting to visit with its period actors walking the streets and putting on dance recitals, as well as demonstrations of cannon and musket firing and regular everyday life.  It felt more like a village and not like a military installation, which it certainly was with its thick stone walls and the many cannons pointed out to sea. On the day we visited, a Canadian Forces Ship was in the bay with many of its crew visiting the site. The last staged act was the firing of the fortress cannon at the gates of the fortress signaling our time to leave. This was answered by the destroyer in the bay as it fired off some of its guns in reply. A very fine day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *