Fortress Louisbourg Association has developed a series of immersive 3D experiences designed to transport visitors 300 years back in time to witness Fortress of Louisbourg during the peak of its activity.
The virtual reality Harbour Experience, developed in partnership with Cape Breton-based digital engagement technology firm VMP Group, requires visitors to wear a headset with special motion trackers to move the player’s field of view and take part in an interactive role-playing game.
The project has a goal to both entertain and foster a deeper appreciation of Canada and the fortress through authentic cultural content that is historically accurate and also a connective sensory experience.
“Fortress Louisbourg Association is pleased to contribute to the visitor’s experience at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site through this new virtual reality offering,” said Jodi McDavid of the Fortress Louisbourg Association, in a press release.
“It is our goal to provide innovative and rich programming that enhances the stories told on site and continue to grow tourism in the community of Louisbourg.”
Parks Canada has provided a designated space for four virtual reality systems in the McLennan Centre at the fortress.
The geography, topography, surroundings, sounds (in both official languages), visuals and atmosphere of the experience are engineered to reflect Fortress of Louisbourg in the 18th century.
The technology accommodates players of all skill levels and will be used to allow visitors to engage in experiences that would be otherwise difficult to access.
The federal government announced a $213,265 contribution to the project on Thursday.
“National parks, historic sites and protected areas represent the very best of Canada, including the history, culture and living legacy of Indigenous peoples and settlements of the past,” said Rodger Cuzner, MP for Cape Breton-Canso, in a press release.
“The new virtual reality experience at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site will help preserve Canadian history while showcasing the region’s vibrant culture and reinforcing Cape Breton’s reputation as an exciting must-visit tourism destination.”
The federal government invested $193,265 in the project through ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund and $20,000 from Parks Canada.
Both contributions are non-repayable.
The Fortress Louisbourg Association was founded in 1976 and operates three period restaurants, a bakery, a coffee shop and two gift boutiques.