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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


Extracted from © The Seagull

Louisbourg Heritage Notes

December 1999

Heritage Christmas A Great Success

The Louisbourg Heritage Society’s 12th Annual Heritage Christmas, held on December 3, was one of the best ever. The Heritage Christmas aims to bring the people of Louisbourg together to celebrate the holiday season and to enjoy one another’s company. In that we were very successful.

Begun in the St. Bartholomew’s Rectory in 1987, the event later moved to the Senior Citizens building on Mitchell Street and then to the Louisbourg Playhouse. This year the weather was pleasant and mild and the Playhouse was full. Margie Cameron set up the programme and Lee Price, was the Master of Ceremonies.

The talented people who took part included Gwen Lunn and Ruth O’Hara, Bibiana MacLeod and Guerlin MacLeod and church choirs including First United, St. Bartholomew’s Anglican, Zion Presbyterian, the Stella Maris Roman Catholic Choir, and the Stella Maris Folk Choir. Mighty Fortress Church of God was represented by a solo sung by Rev. Joseph Cleary and a duet by Mrs. Beudah Chant and her sister Beulah Carroll. The Mira Gaelic Choir were also on hand to underscore the Scottish heritage of our area.

The evening was planned and arranged by many long-time and dedicated volunteers who strung popcorn, decorated the Playhouse, brought food and helped to serve. These fine people are the heart and soul of the event.

A special vote of thanks goes to the Louisbourg Merchants’ Association for a substantial financial contribution, Jeanette Beaver for baking the fruit cake, Stuart Pellerin for finding the tree, Kevin Trimm for printing out the banners, Donald John Cameron for helping in general and for getting the Christmas lights to work and Bill Mullins and the Louisbourg Playhouse for allowing the Heritage Society to use this excellent setting.

After the entertainment I talked with many of the performers and members of the audience. I stopped by briefly to speak with Sheila Fudge, Patsy MacDonald and Pat Holland and Millie Parsons during a break and they were singing the praises of the evening. Sheila says that she looks forward to the event each year. As a matter of fact, we usually know its about time to start planning for the Heritage Christmas when Sheila brings up the topic in the early fall.

O.K. So I’ll Be The New Year’s Grinch

Everyone is looking forward to New Years 2000 as the beginning of the millennium. I’m certain we’ll have a great time. But it will be even more memorable if we can keep the party going until midnight on December 31, 2000, over a year from now. That’s when the new millennium really begins. So now that I’ve spoiled everything, I’ll tell you what I find most interesting about the millennium.

What is really interesting about the millennium is the location of first sunrise on the North American mainland on that cold January 1, 2001 morning. Provided there is no cloud cover, the first sunrise will be at Cape Breton, just around the corner from Baleine at 7:41 AM local time. Maybe we should ask Bill Burke at Baleine to plan a celebration. Mary Price, maybe that’s worth another plaque.

Community Christmas Tree

The Louisbourg Association of Women lit the Community Christmas Tree on Saturday, 27 November at 7 PM in front of the Rectory. Between 75 and 100 people were in attendance. The tree is 25 or so feet high has red bows and 35 strings of 25 multicoloured lights (for a total of 875). There were Christmas carols sung around the tree and a lunch was served in St. Bartholomew’s hall. Over the years there have been other trees lit for the enjoyment of us all. For a number of years the Firemen had a tree in front of the fire hall. This was discontinued because the coloured lights were always disappearing mysteriously. For several years there was also a tree in front of the Town Hall. It was lit during the children’s Christmas which was held at the same time as the Heritage Christmas.

The first community Christmas Tree for Louisbourg dates back to 1936. The moving force behind this tree was the Louisburg Town Band. The band held several concerts and got donations from businesses in town. By Christmas Eve there was a tree, complete with electric lights, standing in the vacant lot on the corner of Main and Lower Warren where the Post Office stands today. Alex Smith and Howard MacPhail strung the lights. I believe that Harvey MacLeod told me he could just remember being there. Melvin Hungtington wrote in his diary on December 24 that the Christmas Tree " was dedicated tonight when the Louisbourg Brass Band under the direction of Harold Covey gave an hour’s programme of music in the presence of a large audience. Carols were also sung by members of the Band and others. During the concert bags of candy were distributed to the children. . . the tree was gayly lighted with coloured electric lights and presented a very handsome appearance, the first of its kind in the Town of Louisbourg . . . the tree is upwards of 20 feet in height."

The Post Office

There are two interesting things related to the Post Office this month. Now, there is a computer in the front lobby for those who would like to access the Internet. John Allan MacKay tells me that this is an experiment. There are 11 such computer stations in Post Offices across the country. For the Maritimes the computers are located in Buctouche, New Brunswick and Louisbourg. Drop by to try it out - let’s give it enough business to keep it here. The second point of interest is the notice we got in the mail saying that our postal addresses will be changing to our street address and there will be new postal codes. There’s nothing quite like changing the system. But the system seems pretty efficient as it is. Several months ago a friend sent me a post card from the United States. It was addressed to Bill O’Shea, B0A 1M0, Canada and nothing more. The post card was mailed on May 7 and I received it 5 days later on May 12. Pretty good if you ask me. So why fool with success?

On an historical note, at one time we had post offices in Old Town ( Fort Louisburg ) and Havenside (South Louisburg) as well as in the town. The first town post office was actually in West Louisbourg on the other side of old Stella Maris church in Joseph Kennedy’s house. It was then moved down town to the Neil H. Murphy property on north side of Main Street somewhere near, or even in, Sammy Carter’s house ( Does anyone know if this is true?). In 1900 it moved to the Nathan Spencer building (burned 1921) which stood where Jim Price’s has a house just west of Tim Bagnell. About 1910/11 the post office moved to the building where S&E Pizza is located. The present Post Office was opened on February 14, 1939. Hugh Lynk was the post master.

Have A Good Christmas & New Year.

Please remember, I’m researching the light house, the fog horn, the storm drum and other navigational aids into Louisbourg harbour, so if you have a story or a picture give me a call at 733-2873 

Bill O’Shea

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