Lunenburg – Nova Scotia

The case of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia in Canada is an excellent example of the expression “Size doesn’t matter”.  With less than 3,000 residents, the village created a masterpiece that is now incorporated in the Canadian currency.

The climate of not so hot summer and not too cold winter by the Atlantic Ocean was found ideal for fishing, farming, shipping and trading.  They had the conditions and the environment but they needed the means to improve accomplishing the work.  The inhabitants took the lead and added shipbuilding to the list of actions to expand. They built boats and one of them turned out to be the famous  one and only Bluenose.  The efficient local fishing boat and its crew became unexpectedly a worldwide winning racing schooner sensation.  

Not only was the fishing vessel performing, it had grace and elegance with its sails. Once famous, it was used as a cruise ship and became ambassador of events in Chicago and London. It was later sold to a Carribean country and now sits at the bottom of the ocean near Ile aux Vaches, Haiti.

The love for the boat was so deep to many that a replica was built at the same shipyard as the original version and partly by the same hands 42 years later. Sponsored by a beer company, it was sold to the province a few years later. The Bluenose II still sails around and promotes the maritime heritage.

Before the popularity of the racing boat, the region was well-known for its fishing starting point and obviously, fresh sea products. Merchants exploited the dry cod niche in exporting the praised product to the West Indies.  Again, the small village of Lunenburg advantageously used their resources for prosperity. Unfortunately, the uncontrolled fisheries and improvement of fishing methods with more effective vessels had a negative massive effect on the cod population in the Atlantic. Many learned a sad lesson and the importance of having a balanced economy and care for environmental impact. The fishing industry is still very present in the town. High Liner Foods operates one of their factories in Lunenburg.

Despite its small size and population, this quaint town has captured the attention of many including UNESCO World Heritage Site.  This original Mi’kmaq territory was already mixed with French residents in 1620. The original layout of the settlement by the British since 1753 has been kept over the years.

Make sure when you visit to look for the Bluenose II itinerary; it may influence the day of your visit. Look at the Canadian dime to know what you are looking for.

The history of the boat industry is provided in the factory Smith & Rhuland, now the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic by the water.

The waterfront is an interesting place to walk. The Theresa E. Connor, Canada’s oldest saltbank schooner, can be visited. At one end of the boardwalk, you will find the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in the bright red warehouse styled building and, at the other end, a Fisherman’s Memorial.  It was erected to pay tribute to the ones who lost their lives at sea. It also reminds us of the hard and stressful work in the turbulent waters of the ocean.

The town is recognized as having an original urban layout on the hill side of the port. The narrow streets will lead you to colorful buildings on Lincoln Street with shops, restaurants and galleries.  A bit further, you can find  churches including St.John’s Anglican Church, the Lunenburg Academy, the Bandstand and public gardens.

While a little steep, you do not need a car to explore this place.  You can walk to reach different interesting spots. We were lucky and found parking next to the Fisheries Museum.