This spring, Parks Canada and Canadian Geographic collaborated to award a grade-eight class from Caronport, Sask., Canada's Coolest School Trip — a four-day adventure to Cape Breton Island, N.S. Canadian Geographic's Michela Rosano joined the class for the trip.
Twenty-one sleepy grade-eights, along with a few teachers, chaperones, two Parks Canada representatives and two Canadian Geographic staff members climb onto the bus at the Hampton Inn in Sydney, N.S. Our flight touched down earlier this morning, and after a short sleep and a hearty breakfast, we are on our way to the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site.
Though the weather isn’t quite cooperating (the fog is so thick you can barely see down the road — typical for Cape Breton Island, we are told), the kids from the tiny town of Caronport, Sask., ooh and aah at the sight of the Atlantic Ocean and the King’s Bastion Barracks standing guard in the background.
Once we arrive, everyone files quickly off the bus to get a look at our surroundings: a meticulous reconstruction of a French-owned, 18th-century fortified city.
The day is full of events. The Royal Canadian Mint presents the class with commemorative coins to celebrate Louisbourg’s 300th anniversary. Later, the students take part in a GPS-driven treasure hunt through the cobblestone streets and try out traditional Fortress of Louisbourg life, including getting dressed in the clothes of the period, cooking a French omelet and sipping hot chocolate made from a centuries-old recipe.
“It was totally a new experience," says Kaila Dunbar, a class member. “It was so much better than I ever thought it would be. It actually looked like those building were really from the 18th-century."
Once the fortress fun is over for the day, the grade-eight students file back on the bus for a lobster meal (the best lobster of my life!) with George D. Lewis High School students, whom the Caronport Elementary grade-eights have been corresponding with since they won in April.
For a list of the contest sponsors, visit www.myparkspass.ca/blog/thank-you-our-2012-2013-my-parks-pass-contests-partners