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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

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William A. O'Shea
Helen A. O'Shea & Jean Kyte


September 1990
ISBN 0 - 9694720 - 0 - 5
Updated June 1996; posted online August 1996


Louisbourg's streets tie us together. Yet, unless there is a snow storm, potholes or a break in the waterline we seldom think of them. But each street has a name and a story. Some streets have existed for many years. Others are less than 30 years old. The names of some have changed over the years. There are small lanes in town that may some day become streets. And there are one or two streets that have all but disappeared.

Are you familiar with Phelan's Road or Slattery Street? Why is Minto Street probably an apology? Why is Gordie Street an example of individual initiative? Did you know that the oldest street in continuous use is Main Street? It was built 260 years ago to link the Fortress with Baleine.


Louisbourg Harbour was surveyed by Commander Orlebar in 1857-58 and Commander Richards in 1896. On their charts, the important features are the depth of water, the identifiable headlands and navigation aids. The streets of the Old Town and the new settlement growing around the north-east end of the harbour are sketched in but none are named.

On the other hand, the "Topographical Township Map of Cape Breton" by Ambrose F. Church, published in 1877, is of some interest. Church does not name the few streets in the town, but he does name specific wharfs, homes and businesses. He shows the small lane leading from the main street to Slattery's house and wharf. He indicates that Captain Spencer was living in the vicinity of the street now called Spencer Street; A. J. Lorway lived in the area south of Lorway Street; R. Bagnall lived at the north-east end of the harbour near what became Bagnall Street.

Read On

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