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  Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada

Volume 5: Number 10


Vol. 5, No. 10
October 2003 - octobre 2003

Staff in the Cape Breton Field Unit

On October 1st, the field unit management team met with representatives of the Human Resource Planning Team to discuss the results of the employee survey, open houses and focus groups which have been held throughout the field unit over the past year. In particular the discussion focussed on the comments and suggestions that came out during the open houses and focus groups. Following the presentation, the management team met to provide some direction that can be incorporated into the Human Resource Plan.

As a first step in enhancing communications, seasonal staff working in the historic sites will be contacted to determine if they have access to email in their off season or if we need to use normal mail services for periodic newsletters and other mail outs. This will mean that we will be able to contact all staff during the off season. (Cape Breton Highlands already has that capacity in place.)

A survey of training that has been given to all managers and supervisors will also be undertaken so that a training plan can be developed and delivered over the coming years. This training will include a variety of subjects such as how to do evaluations of staff and what is harassment (including how to deal with situations that you observe or experience).

Various managers will also be looking at specific suggestions that relate to their sections and how these might be acted upon in the future.

The Human Resource Planning Team has achieved some significant milestones in surveying the staff and seeking feedback and more precision on certain areas of concern. With the direction from management, they can now move on to the next step, preparing various sections of the Plan.

Thanks to all the staff who took the time to provide feedback.

Carol M. Whitfield

Heritage Presentation Workshop

The Fortress of Louisbourg hosted the annual Atlantic Heritage Presentation Network Conference on October 27th through 30th. Some 40-plus members were in attendance, representing field units from across Atlantic Canada as well as the Service Centre and National Office. Most of the conference’s three days of activities took place in the Bigot Theatre on-site at the Fortress. The available space in the period building made for a cosy ambience, a tone that carried over into the three days of activities and led to productive and positive sessions.

The timing of the Atlantic HP Network Conference placed it on the week following the Engaging Canadians (EC) strategy sessions, which were held last week in Montreal. Results from the Montreal meetings were summarized on the first morning of the HP Conference by Karen Jans (Atlantic Service Centre). These elements of the EC meetings formed an integral framework for discussions at the Atlantic HP Meeting.

The Atlantic HP Network meeting consisted of individual presentations on a numerous topics including issues facing Heritage Presentation, highlights of the past years activities, third-party delivery of HP services, corporate identity standards, national web-site information, training, compliance, learning travel and outreach strategies, and using the arts in Interpretation. Participants took part in a candle-lit animated tour of the Fortress (ending in dinner and music in a period restaurant), and a behind-the-scenes tour highlighting the inner workings of the site.

The Cape Breton Field Unit was well represented at the meetings with members from FOL Heritage Presentation Unit (Anne O’Neill, Greg Joyce, Danielle Baldwin) AGB (Dave Algar, Elaine Wallace, Heather Dixon, Eric Muntz) and CBH (Anne MacRae, Linda Watson, Sharon Morrow) in attendance. We were pleased to see many staff from other units dropping in to take part in agenda topics which were of particular interest to them.

Many in attendance had never had the opportunity to visit the Fortress before and were greatly impressed by the whole project, including the talents, enthusiasm and dedication of all our staff. Thanks go out to all who assisted in any way to help make this workshop so successful.

National CRM Managers Workshop

The second National CRM Managers Workshop is taking place this week in Alberta and being hosted by the Banff Field Unit. The theme of this workshop is "CRM: Ties That Bind". Bill O’Shea and Sandy Balcom will be attending on behalf of this field unit.

Engaging Canadians

Carol Whitfield, Aynsley MacFarlane and Dave Algar represented the Cape Breton Field Unit at the Engaging Canadians Workshop that was held in Montreal on October 22-24, 2003.

The Atlantic Canada Workshop

"Making Contact"
Louisbourg Institute and The University College of Cape Breton
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
14-16 October, 2004

The ATLANTIC CANADA WORKSHOP is an interdisciplinary conference that brings together researchers from many fields whose work focuses on Atlantic Canada. Presentations by graduate students, new scholars and international scholars are particularly welcome at these meetings. The next workshop (14th biennial) will meet from 14-16 October 2004, at the University College of Cape Breton and Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, during Cape Breton’s "Celtic Colours" week.

Presentations covering all time periods and parts of the region are welcome as individual papers or as panels. The deadline for abstracts and panel proposals is 30 January 2004.

Please send proposals to:    

Carol Corbin,
University College of Cape Breton,
PO Box 5300, Grand Lake Road,
Sydney, Nova Scotia
Canada B1P 6L2 Fax: 902-563-1247

News from AGB

Copy of part of a letter written by Alexander Melville Bell to his son Alexander Graham Bell in the autumn of 1865. Aleck was 18 years old.

My dear Aleck:

I enclose you 51 stamps to keep you going till I am able to send you a better supply...

Don’t lie down heated on the ground. 
Don’t go crawling into caves. 
Don’t go psalm-singing in a choir. 
Don’t forget tomorrow in today.
Don’t bother your brains about Telegraphy. 
Don’t doubt the constant affection of Your affectionate father,                


The days grow quieter at AGBNHSC and, as it surely must be with all the parks and sites, it is difficult to believe another visitor season has come and gone. September and October saw many cruise ship visitors to this site and some school groups as well.

We received approval for our Innovation Fund proposal to create a series of evening presentations in 2004 to promote ‘knowledge and sociability’ in the spirit of the community involvement of Alexander and Melville whether at their home in Washington DC or here on Cape Breton Island. We look forward to working with our partners the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts, the Highland Village and a local expert on Village of Baddeck history. We are also looking forward to incorporating power point technology into these evening programs and all of our staff developed programs that have been in slide format - an opportunity the funding is providing.

Hugh Muller, great-grandson of Alexander Graham Bell, is in Scotland this month in part as a guest of the National Museums of Scotland for the launch of their new communications gallery at the Edinburgh Royal Museum. This new gallery commemorates Dr. Bell’s work and features the many ways in which people have communicated over the years from drums to mobile phones. Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1847 and spent most his youth and teenage years there before moving to Canada with his parents to Brantford, Ontario in 1870.

We were pleased to provide an historic 1909 Silver Dart airplane image to the magazine of the skies, EnRoute, which will include an article on Alexander Graham Bell in the December issue. Circulation is 180,000 (readers mostly in the air).

Grosvenor Blair, great-grandson of Alexander Graham Bell, will be attending the gala reception for Canada’s "Altitude is Everything"celebration event of 100 years of human flight. The "Centennial of Powered Flight Grand Finale" takes place December 17th. Mr. Blair will participate in the CBC Newsworld live broadcast from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. to talk about Canada’s rich aviation heritage and family anecdotes. The Canadian Aviation Museum is running activities that day for the public from morning til mid-afternoon and Mr. Blair has been asked to provide a 10-minute presentation. He will also say a few words at the evening banquet.

Although the Bras d’Or Lakes are saltwater (brackish at about 2.5% salinity in contrast to 3.5% salinity in ocean water) connecting with the ocean at Great Bras d’Or Channel and Little Bras d’Or and intermittently at St. Peters Canal because of the locks, they are fed freshwater by a watershed that has five of the Island’s major rivers. With this in mind, we submitted information on the Lakes and the Alexander Graham Bell connection for use on the International Year of Freshwater website along with historic photographs of Bell’s home on the lakeshore and his use of the Lakes for his kite, airplane and hydrofoil experiments and for leisure activities such as yachting and swimming.


Sincere condolences to Alice Lahey and her family on the death of their mother, Mary Ursula Hynes on October 21, 2003.

Also our condolences go out to Jim MacIsaac and his family on the death of their mother, Catherine MacIsaac on October 22, 2003.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!!!

Staff in the Administration Building enjoyed Halloween again this year as you can see from the photo below . [Please click on the photo to enlarge it]


Anyone wishing to submit an article to the Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Please forward to Donna MacNeil at  or telephone 733-3551.

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