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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 7: Number 5


Vol. 7, No. 5
May - mai 2005

Gaea Award 

The winner of the Gaea Award for Environmentally Friendly Activities for the month of May is Anne Marie Coutinho. 

Anne Marie consistently minimizes paper wastage in her office by making two-sided copies of documents, and re-using paper as scrap paper. She recycles in the proper blue containers, and she is a staunch supporter of all recycling initiatives. 

Congratulations, Anne Marie, in your on-going efforts to be a good environmental role-model in the office. Keep up the good work! 

* Due to technical difficulties, no photo of Anne Marie receiving the Gaea Award is available at this time. 

HSMBC Plaque Unveiling 

On Friday, May 27th, an Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC) plaque unveiling ceremony, organized by AGBNHSC, took place at Baddeck Academy. The plaque commemorates the 1927 founding of the Canadian Home and School Federation which, as the plaque states in part, “united local, regional and provincial branches of Home and School Associations, the earliest of which was the Parent’s Association of Baddeck, established in 1895. Bringing together parents and teachers, it fought for progressive school reforms that promoted the well-being of children and positioned education at the centre of community life. Through its work, this large voluntary organization enabled mothers and female teachers to play a more active role in the field of education.” 

The plaque will eventually be installed in the same area in the Village of Baddeck as the present cairn commemorating the establishment of the Parent’s Association in Baddeck in 1895 which Alexander and Mabel helped establish. Mrs. Bell had gathered information on Parents Associations in Washington DC and brought this information to Baddeck where Canada’s first Parents Association was formally organized. On December 18th, 1895, Mabel Bell sent a note to the Chairman of the Baddeck Parents Association Meeting stating, 

“I am very much interested in your public schools - and would like to add a small amount to your subscription list. I enclose my cheque for twenty-five dollars ($25.00) and wish every success in your new organization.” 

The Canadian Home and School Federation, whose annual conference was held this year in Baddeck coinciding with the unveiling, was pleased to have delegates present at the ceremony which is of great national significance to their organization. Under the direction of their music teacher David Murray and volunteer Patti Stevenson, the Baddeck Elementary Choral Group sang two selections and led in the singing of ‘O Canada’. All enjoyed the refreshments at the reception that followed the unveiling. 

Carol Whitfield, Field Unit Superintendent-CBI, represented the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada introducing guest speakers Glyn Morgan, Vice-president Eastern Canadian Home and School Federation; Georgina Allen, National President, Canadian Home and School Federation; Nancy Langley, Baddeck Community Club; The Honourable Mark Eyking, MP, Cape Breton-Victoria.and The Honourable Jamie Muir, Minister of Education, Province of Nova Scotia. 

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At Baddeck Academy with the unveiled plaque commemorating the founding of The Canadian Home and School Federation are (l-r) Glyn Morgan, VP Eastern Canadian Home and School Federation; Georgina Allen, National President, Canadian Home and School Federation; Nancy Langley, Baddeck Community Club; The Honourable Mark Eyking, MP, Cape Breton- Victoria; The Honourable Jamie Muir, Minister of Education, Nova Scotia; and Carol Whitfield, Field Unit Superintendent, CBI, Parks Canada. 

News from AGBNHSC 

Early May of 1895 found Mabel Bell writing to Alec from their home in Washington DC who was at their new home (Beinn Bhreagh Hall completed in 1893) on Cape Breton Island. She was preparing to take their daughters abroad and lamenting the time that she and Alec would be apart: 

Alec, My own dear love, You have never I think come home from an absence to our dear new house without a welcome from me and I don’t purpose that you shall begin now. If I cannot welcome you in person I will by letter... 

It is harder for me to go away this time than I think you can realize. I do not want to go one single bit and would welcome anything, but sorrow, that would make me feel that it is not my duty to go. As matters stand today it seems to me that I can do no less for the children whom we have brought into the world and for whose wellbeing and happiness we are responsible... 

Now I want to tell you how very happy I am that we have had these last six weeks to ourselves, for ourselves. I had wanted you so much and I felt that the only way I could hope to have you really was to go away with you ... As it happened we went to one of the countries where I most wanted your company and sympathy, so I feel I have had a great deal ... Don’t quite forget me in the midst of your experiments and write me sometimes. You and Mr. Lyon and Mr. Paris are all in the library together as I write now. Where will you and I be when you get this? 

Your Mabel 

Guide Training 

Guide training at AGB took place during the first two weeks of this month. Staff from Marconi and Canso Islands National Historic Sites joined in some of the training once again. They shared the story and significance of their sites so, along with presentations from CBHNP and FOL staff, our staff got an excellent overview of our Field Unit. 

Canso Islands and Marconi NHSC on-site training has taken place and both sites will open their doors June 1st and will operate until September 15th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. 

Gift Shop Opens 

Alexander Graham Bell Museum Association gift shop opened for business on May 2nd, the same day fee collection began. 

CBU Heritage Preservation Certificate 

AGBNHSC facilitated 4 modules of the Cape Breton University Heritage Preservation Certificate Course with topics including Exhibits and Displays, Text and Label Writing; Historical Presentation and Interpretation Planning Principles of Interpretation; and Cultural Property and Artifacts: Legal and Ethical Considerations. Louisbourg also facilitated a portion of this certificate. 

Student Intern 

Julie Morand, here on a three month student internship from the University of Montreal, has been immersed in the preparation intricacies of the recent Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC) ceremony for which this site was responsible and will continue in this area of work as she helps organize the Chapel Island unveiling ceremony taking place at the end of July. Her program of study is a 2 year Masters degree in museology. Julie hopes this placement will improve her bilingual capacity in English and is very enthusiastic about Parks Canada. She will be spending some time at CBHNP and FOL to round out her experience in our wonderful Field Unit. 

New Flooring 

A ceramic tile floor, a health and safety improvement, has been installed in the infamous admin hall area that is sometimes known for its flash floods. Gary Pierrard spent a lot of time lying down on the job to accomplish this task especially doing the grout work. This new floor will be much easier to mop up in the event of another flash flood. 


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Despite the cold May weather, the grounds have been mowed a few times. We seem to have developed a very adaptable dandelion on our grounds. Where once they seemed to duck as the mowers came along, they now grow low to the ground in a perpetual duck position thereby escaping the mower blades. So, in an attempt to thwart them (even though they are special in their own dandelion way and don’t last very long) a mixture of vinegar and lemon juice has been applied where they reside. We’ll see how this works - another experiment launched. 

Blue Heron 

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Commissionaire Don Tower reported the Blue Heron have returned to the pond below the museum earlier this month. 

Mi’kmaw Elders Visit 

A group of Elders from Membertou came to Louisbourg on May 19th specifically to see the new exhibit which they enjoyed immensely. Several visited the Mi’kmaw Trail and the Visitor Centre before returning to Sydney. 

Louisbourg’s Level 1 & 2 Training 

This year’s Level 1 & 2 Training took place last week with approximately 20 new and returning employees. A new approach was used this year giving much greater emphasis on the use of lectures through walking tours to deliver a more hands on approach to the conveyance of information. More emphasis was also placed on unit specific training to the 1st year student/participants. 

Second year (returning) participants received in depth sessions on the history rather than taking the same Level 1 lectures two years running. This necessitated the introduction of concurrent sessions. 

Readings were assigned to the student participants in advance of particular sessions rather than a cover-to-cover assignment of the primer. 

The session on techniques of interpretation was integrated with exercises addressing social roles, cultural diversity and class, which lent a more concrete historical bent to the session. 

A round table discussion was held on the final day taking advantage of the expertise of our cultural resource people - to rave reviews by the student participants. 

The final evaluation (formerly a written multiple choice exam) was done in the the form of a twominute interpretive talk answering a question commonly asked by our visitors. Student participants each picked a question from a hat and delivered their response the next day to their peers and the Heritage Presentation Interpretation Specialists. They were critiqued by the HP Staff on the spot, allowing all to learn from the constructive critique. 

In a nut shell, a much more hands on, experiential course. Second year participants noticed a big improvement over last year. Hats off to all who worked so hard in bringing about the changes! CBU Historical Archaelogy Course J.P. Chrestien of the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa was teaching the CBU Historical Archaeology program in May. He and his ten students spent time in Louisbourg working with Rebecca Duggan during test excavations in the De La Valliere property and with Heidi Moses in the Archaeology Collection. 


Our sympathies to Kathy Kerr and her family on the death of her mother-in-law, Isobel Mackenzie on May 18th. Our sympathies to Geraldine Joyce and family on the death of her father, Joseph Touesnard on May 24th.

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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