Louisbourg, Nova Scotia


Cape Breton Partnership (CBP), Parks Canada, ACOA, Louisbourg Seafoods Inc., Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM), Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design


Questions/Feedback: louisbourg@buildns.ca
Keep in Touch: Sign up for email updates


Building on work undertaken by community groups in Louisbourg—the former Louisbourg Craft Centre, public waterfront, and former municipal campground will be redeveloped into a new destination for locals and visitors that includes Parks Canada’s ticketing for the Fortress of Louisbourg alongside local business. The approach will attract visitors to the Town’s centre, enhancing the Louisbourg experience and enabling increased economic benefit for the community.  

The concept was completed in 2020 and includes a plan for reimagining the waterfront area surrounding a redeveloped community hub. The plan includes a new centre for visitor services, public space, vehicle arrival, and parking on the Louisbourg waterfront.  

Build Nova Scotia (then-Develop Nova Scotia) worked with key stakeholders to assemble funding for the project. In June 2022, an agreement was signed with the Cape Breton Partnership to play a key role as both funding recipient for the project and a partner in convening the community as we work through the final design.  

Figure 1: Initial Draft Concept
  • While the community of Louisbourg serves as the gateway to the Fortress of Louisbourg, very few visitors currently stop in the community. This results in lost economic opportunities. 
  • The redevelopment of the area will renovate five existing buildings in what is known locally as the old craft centre complex. These buildings will create a cluster of activity on the town’s waterfront and will include Parks Canada’s visitor arrival services.
  • Work is underway with partners like the Cape Breton Centre for Crafts and Design and Louisbourg Seafoods to finalize ideas around a café and gift shop, an artist in residency program and a public-facing ocean innovation laboratory for example.
  • It is also anticipated that the area will include include public space, visitor information, parking, and new pedestrian/active transportation connections to Main Street. 
  • An initial concept plan was developed by Build Nova Scotia, in collaboration with local company Upland Planning + Design Studio, and key project stakeholders. 
  • The concept was presented to key project stakeholders and community members and has received strong support. 
  • Funding for the project was secured from three levels of government, with the province of Nova Scotia committing $1.3M through the Nova Scotia COVID Response Council’s Thriving Communities funding. ACOA has committed $187,500 toward the detailed design and have requested a proposal for construction costs once the detailed design has provided a level of cost certainty. Cape Breton Regional Municipality has allocated $55,000 for the detailed design and will include funds for construction of municipal infrastructure in its 2023-24 budget. 


In conjunction with Cape Breton Partnership, a community session was held March 23, 2021*, which included an in-person Public Open House and virtual Public Open House during which the community provided input, asked questions, and identified key priorities for the project team. This input will be incorporated as the project moves forward. Below are links to the recording of the virtual community session and the presentation that was shared.

Using the design concepts reviewed with the community on March 23, 2021, work began to undertake pre-design. Working with community, a Project Steering Committee has been formed to oversee and endorse the design process. This committee includes all key stakeholders and will work with the project team to ultimately endorse a design for construction. This community committee will guide the project through these steps, re-engaging the entire community once again to review the draft plans for feedback, confirming support for the plan, before proceeding to implementation.

Key Dates & Previous Community Engagement To Date

Community Engagement, Louisbourg 

Community Stakeholder Engagement, Louisbourg 

Community Update, Louisbourg + Virtual 

Community Concept Presentation & Engagement 

What We Heard

Community Update, Louisbourg 

Community Update, Louisbourg  

Dec. 6/22
Request for Proposals, Visitor Experience Enhancement Strategy (Now Closed)

Dec. 7/22
Kick Off Meeting with Project Steering Committee, Louisbourg 

Apr. 18/23 – Community Update/Share Your Thoughts
Read more here


Along with our partners at Build Nova Scotia, the Cape Breton Partnership is happy to announce that FBM has been chosen as the lead proponent of the Detailed Design Services for the Louisbourg Visitor Experience Enhancement Strategy with support from CBCL (Sydney) and Brackish. FBM will now work with community and partners to bring the earlier vision for the project to life through detailed design.

With a focus on creating a social and economic gathering place for the community and visitors alike, the plan includes the relocation of the current visitor centre to a new Parks Canada visitor arrival centre within the heart of Louisbourg’s downtown. With construction anticipated to begin in 2023, the project will attract more visitors to the fortress and waterfront, encourage economic activity within the town, and support the community that calls Louisbourg home, year-round.

The Louisbourg Visitor Experience Enhancement Strategy is led by the Cape Breton Partnership with project management provided by Build Nova Scotia. Partners include Cape Breton Regional MunicipalityParks CanadaLouisbourg SeafoodsAtlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and Cape Breton Centre for Crafts and Design.

For more information, email us at info@capebretonpartnership.com or louisbourg@buildns.ca.