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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 6: Number 10


Vol. 6, No.10
October 2004 -octobre 2004 

Special Visitor

Museum Anthropologist, Dr. Stephen Loring, of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC made a special detour to the Fortress of Louisbourg to view the archaeology collection and database and compare some 18th century artifacts he found this summer while working on an Arctic Inuit Site.

Mr. Loring spent the day researching artifacts located in the archaeology collection and on exhibit before continuing his journey home.

Atlantic Canada Workshop

On October 15 and 16, 2004, the Fortress of Louisbourg co-hosted with the University College of Cape Breton the Atlantic Canada Workshop 2004: Making Contact.

Anne Marie Lane Jonah coordinated the Louisbourg part of the conference. In the afternoon Sandy Balcom and Ken Donovan and visiting scholars conducted a session on the 18th century at Bigot Theatre.

Afterward, with Parks Canada's generous support, participants enjoyed specialized tours of the Fortress and an 18th century meal with entertainment at the Grandchamps Inn.

Over 60 participants from the Maritimes, Ontario, Québec, the United States and the

Netherlands tremendously enjoyed their time at the Fortress. Many thanks to all who helped make the day at Louisbourg a success.

Celtic Colours International Festival

Once again this year the Fortress of Louisbourg hosted a concert "Step Into
the Past" in the Chapel on Monday, October 11th. The visiting performers were Crasdant, David Francey, Rona Lightfoot, and Dwayne Cote. Although the weather was bad, it was a sellout crowd and everyone had an enjoyable evening.

Cape Breton Community Economic Development Association Conference

On the 18th of October, CBCEDA sponsored conference was held in Sydney with participants spending an afternoon in Louisbourg. Special tours and extra animation was provided to enhance their visits. Participants were from Atlantic Canada all of whom worked in the area of community development.

AGB News

Here is a glimpse into life on Cape Breton Island at Beinn Bhreagh in the autumn of 1890 and is brought to you courtesy of Parks Canada archival holdings at AGBNHSC:

Excerpt from a letter from Mrs. Alexander Graham Bell to Mrs. Gardiner Greene Hubbard (her mother) written at Beinn Bhreagh, Victoria County, Cape Breton, N.S. October 20th, 1890. (Letter Book Binder # 85, page 20-21)

Thank you ever so much Mamma darling for the shoes and petticoat which arrived this morning. It is so like you to think of my comfort far away as I am, and I love you ever so much ... I have silk stockings on now, they feel about as warm and much more comfortable than the woolen ones I have been wearing lately. The shoes and petticoat will be very nice a little later, just now it is not at all cold, in fact I do not think it can be very much warmer in Washington than it has been today. The sun shone and the water was intensely blue without a white cap and the air mild. I drove Miss True to the Point and then around to Crescent Grove and rowed her home. It was such a glorious sunset that I could not bear to go indoors, instead we rowed around the harbor and up it. Inside the sea lay like glass, every tree, shrub and every color was perfectly reflected and it was hard to say just where the land ended and water began.

... Delia had all the rhubarb cut down, today I notice a new crop fast reaching maturity. We had very delicate new peas for dinner tonight with our own cucumbers and stuffed tomatoes, and beautiful piece of haddock Mr. Mitchell sent. We had fresh mackerel from our own nets this morning and some delicious smelts are waiting us in the larder. I don't think we are starving for lack of variety, do you?

... Alex has been measuring the flow of the spring, he says it takes just 17 seconds to fill a barrel of water, and calculates that it runs fifteen cubic feet a minute.

... Alec is very much disgusted to find that his mountain farm fences only enclose twenty acres, he thought he had about a hundred. His sheep houses are going up and he is very much pleased.

Goodnight Mamma darling, much love and many thanks.



Autumn Events

Like everyone we're amazed at how quickly this visitor season has come and now is almost gone. September and October have been busy with many visitors particularly from cruise ships and motorcoach land based tours.

Our Innovation Fund Project of evening presentations that took place Wednesdays and Sundays after hours during July, August and September is over. These programs were done in collaboration with the Gaelic College, Highland Village and local Victoria County archivist Joan MacInnes. While providing more evening opportunities for the visitors to our area, our staff was able to develop some new AGB presentations in power point format.

October 31st is the last day of work for our guide staff and it is also the last day of fee collection . As of October 16th we are on our winter hours of operation which are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. These hours are in effect until May 31st. Also from November 1st to April 30th site visits are by arrangement.

Liberated Learning

The afternoon of October 20th brought the launching of the "Baddeck Liberated Learning Showcase" (BLLS) project here at AGBNHSC after the morning launch at UCCB. This project is a co-operative venture between UCCB's Bell Institute, IBM's Accessibility Services Research Unit and Parks Canada. Dr. Sara Basson, IBM, demonstrated the ViaScribe software that converts the spoken word with punctuation into text in real time creating instant captioning on a screen for all to read. The software is already in use in some university classrooms including some at UCCB.

LL Group.jpg (67229 bytes)
Please Click on the 
Image to Enlarge It

However, the BLLS at AGBNHSC museum will provide a new opportunity to apply the technology to further the research and refinement of the program. It is expected that the technology will be in place and staff will be trained to use the software during the 2005 visitor season to provide greater access to knowledge to our visitors especially those who are hearing impaired. Hubs will be installed in the exhibit areas that will connect the voice of the staff person who will be speaking into a wireless microphone to the visitor who will have a hand held screen from which they can read what is being said in real time. This technology links nicely with Alexander Graham Bell's communication work especially his work teaching deaf people to speak.

In her welcome, Carol Whitfield lauded the current status of the project and expressed the hope that as it develops it may lead to a day when the software will be capable of translating the spoken word in one language to the printed word in another simultaneously. Valerie Mason, who has worked in the Heritage Presentation Services at ABGNHSC for the past 11 years, has been hired by UCCB as a Research Assistant for the Showcase. To learn more about this exciting project visit 

Pictured L-R at the launch of the Baddeck Liberated Learning Showcase at AGBNHSC are Carol Whitfield, Parks Canada; Dr. Dimitri Kanevsky, IBM; Valerie Mason, UCCB; Sarah Conrod, UCCB; Ron MacNeil, Bell Institute; Dr. Sara Basson, IBM; David Leitch, St. Mary's University; Dr. Alex Faisman, IBM; and Hugh Muller, Bell descendant.

AND, DON'T FORGET to cast your vote (many times, in many ways - by phone, by email ...) in THE GREATEST CANADIAN CONTEST!!! Out of the top 200 nominees provided by the public to CBC in the spring, Alexander Graham Bell made the shortlist of the "Top Ten" with the likes of David Suzuki, Wayne Gretzky, Terry Fox and Tommy Douglas, Don Cherry and Sir John A. Macdonald. Call 1-866-303-VOTE to vote (we suggest you vote for AGB but of course that's up to you). Visit for all the details on the nominees and for the scoop on how to vote. Alexander Graham Bell gets his turn for an hour long profile on CBC TV at 8 p.m. on November 15th with repeats on CBC Newsworld. A CBC crew who had AGB as their nominee did a lot of filming recently at Beinn Bhreagh and on site of mostly telephone and photophone related artifacts for his profile. Exercise your franchise and VOTE!


Our sincere condolences to Lorne MacLean and his children on the death of his wife and their mother, Delores. Our prayers and support are with the whole family.

Sincere condolences to Karl Bishop and his family on the death of their father, Joseph Bishop on October 20, 2004.

A long time employee of Parks Canada and friend to many of us, Raymond Troke, passed away this past month. Our sincere condolences to his family and many friends here in the Louisbourg area and also to his many friends in Newfoundland.

Did you know....

...Mark Sajatovich, Marketing Officer will be taking over the marketing duties for Highlands Links due to the resignation of Irene Khattar. Congratulations, Mark!

...The Heritage Presentation staff located in the Dugas House have finally been hooked up to their new, fast and efficient computer modems. It took a while but it was worth the wait!!

...Carole DesLauriers is a grandmother again to a beautiful baby girl, Jessalynn Suzanne, born October 25th. Congratulations, Carole and we wish you a speedy recovery from your recent appendectomy.

Happy Halloween

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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