Fortress of Louisbourg implements COVID-19 precautions as it reopens
LOUISBOURG, N.S. -- This week, Cape Breton's Fortress of Louisbourg opened to the public for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic was called in March.
Eddie Kennedy is the manager of visitor experience at the fortress. He says there has already been a number of requests for physically-distanced selfies with masked interpreters.
“I did ask the first guy I saw if it was a period face mask and he just laughed,” says visitor Andrew Saweczko.
Aside from masks, the most noticeable difference is the lack of a big crowd, which Saweczko says has made for a better visiting experience.
“With the interpreters, they're much more open to long discussions and telling us stories than if there was a whole bunch of people around,” says Saweczko.
So far, the fortress has been averaging about 100 visitors a day, which Kennedy says is at, or slightly above, expectations under the current circumstances.
“Mainly from Nova Scotia, lots of local people,” says Kennedy.
“From Halifax, New Glasgow, Pictou, a couple of plates from New Brunswick as well. So it's the Atlantic bubble people that we're getting.”
Only nine of the buildings are open within the reconstructed site and many of the more hands-on experiences are not being offered at this time, due to health and safety measures.
“So visitors can't try a costume on, like they would have if they were firing a musket or a cannon. We're not doing big exhibits or big displays, where you'd have a lot of people in a tight area where you can't social distance,” says Kennedy.
Despite the limitations, visitor Lorrain MacGowan says she had a great experience at the fortress.
“What we've seen has been wonderful and it only means we'll have to come back to see the things that we can't (see this time),” says MacGowan.