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Saint John New Brunswick
FAMOUS FOLKS

   This article is the latest development of the LaTour story, as the story builds we will try to keep you informed. Lets give our brave heroine (Lady LaTour) a home!

The story below was taken from the Times Globe, Friday, May 22/98

Tour LaTour

A local man hopes new funding for Fort LaTour
is a step towards the site's redevelopment

By BOBBI-JEAN MaCKINNON
Times Globe staff writer

   Fort LaTour may soon be joining the ranks of tourist attractions such as loyalist House, Martello Tower and the Reversing Falls.

   The city has set aside $10,000 for the works department to create some parking spots and to develop an area where tour buses can turn around easily.

   George Fisher, an amateur archeologist who has been trying for years to get the site developed, is excited about the project he has spearheaded, which is expected to be underway within a few weeks.

   "Things are starting to happen," he said. "I have high hopes more funding will come through."

   Eventually, Mr. Fisher would like to see the remains of the 17th century fort placed under a dome for viewing and an on-site interpretation centre displaying some of the artifacts from the 1955 excavation he worked on with archeologist Russell Harper.

   Mr. Fisher believes upgrading the site to make it more accessible to tourists might help convince the provincial and federal governments about the importance of developing the site into a bustling tourist attraction

   A full-scale reproduction of Louisbourg - a fort used almost 100 years later than LaTour - has long been attracting countless tourists to Cape Breton, he pointed out.

   Local tour operators contacted by the Times Globe seemed receptive to the idea. But they stressed more work has to be done before they would add Fort LaTour to their sight-seeing itineraries.

   "There isn't much there yet except for marking the spot and right now, I don't think that's enough for me to deviate from our set 2½-hour tour," said Melanie Jones, tour coordinator at Aquila Tours.

   Ms. Jones suggested something interactive such as having people in period costume playing the part of Madame LaTour, for example, might help lure bus tours and shore excursions to the site.

   The story of Fort LaTour is a favourite among tourists, added Ms. Jones, and she regularly encourages them to visit the site on their own.

   "I think developing the site is a wonderful idea. [Mr. Fisher's] definitely on the right track," she said.

   Bob Kane, president of Intra Kane Travel, agreed that at this point, it's not feasible to add the fort to the already tightly-scheduled tours.

   But Mr. Kane said he would be willing to consider it as soon as there's something for tourists to see that helps explain the significance of the site.

   "It's an important part of the history of Saint John," he said.

   "I wish [Mr. Fisher] luck.

   "I think it's a great idea."

   City Councillor Walter Ball, who is also a director of the Saint John Development Corporation, said developing the site would not only benefit tourists, but also local residents.

   "Ninety percent of people in Saint John don't even know where it is," said Mr. Ball, adding it is "rather primitive" right now with little more than a sign and a flag.

   "It has taken far too long to get things going," he said.

   "There's quite a tremendous history there."

   Mr. Ball hopes the provincial and federal governments will get involved and develop the site to its full potential.

   Meanwhile, the city's engineering division has done an initial survey of the site and will be putting together a design plan in the next few days, said project engineer James Flogeras.

   He expects the project will begin by mid-June, once the works department is finished with spring cleanup. It will only take a couple of weeks, he said.

   The paved road into the site, which currently comes to a dead end under the throughway of the Harbour Bridge, will be extended over another 1.6 acres under the through-way toward HMCS Bruswicker, said Mr. Flogeras.

   The gravel extension will require only some minor grading and fill to help drain any water, he said.

   Concrete barriers, will also be added around the perimeter to help define the area and parking-at-your-own-risk signs will be erected.

   Last month marked the 353rd anniversary of the fall of the fort and the death of Francoise Marie Jacquelin, more commonly known as Madame LaTour.

   She died at the site in 1645 after leading a valiant defence of the fort against attack by a rival French lord during her husband's absence.

   Charles de Saint-Etienne, better known as LaTour, and Charles de Menou d'Aulnay were both governors of Acadia and quarrelled over their jurisdictions as well as the division of the valuable fur trade.

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