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Historic Cannons from Louisbourg, Nova Scotia


On June 23, 1758, the British Navy besieged Louisbourg, capital and major settlement

of the French colony of Cape Breton Island. Three of the French ships, Entreprenant,

Capricieux, and Celebre, were set afire by a single shell and, four days later, the two

remaining vessels, Prudente and Bienfaisant, were captured in the harbour. After the 

fall of Québec in 1759 and Montréal in 1760, Louisbourg finally yielded, thus ending 

France's military and colonial presence in North America.


More than 100 cannons from the 1759 siege were lost in the Louisbourg harbour

and of these about 20 were raised in 1899. Through the advocacy of engineering

graduate A.E. Shipley (Dipl. S.P.S., 1898; B.A.Sc., 1899), two of these cannons were

purchased for use by the University of Toronto as historic monuments. One was financed

by the students' Engineering Society and the other by the Arts class of 1901. The

graduating classes of these two faculties made official presentation to the university

during the convocation proceedings of 1901.


Restoration of these two cannons was undertaken in 1993-4 by the University of

Toronto Facilities and Services Department and the Engineering Alumni Association,

through the generosity and facilities of TransCanada Pipelines.

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