by Jim Gray
Courtesy Tourism Nova Scotia
If there’s a place that embodies the soul of Nova Scotia, it’s Lunenburg. Founded on the province’s magnificent South Shore in 1753, the town of 2,300 seems to appear out of the mists of time. In Lunenburg, it could be 2017. Or 1817.
The sea shaped the place. From the era of wooden ships, it established a global reputation for shipbuilding. In 1921, what was to become the world’s fastest racing schooner, ‘Bluenose’, was built at the famous Smith and Rhuland Shipyard here. (A replica of the HMS Bounty, for the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty, was also constructed at the facility.) ‘Bluenose 11’, a faithful replica of the original, sails out of Lunenburg, her birth place. From June 30 through September 1, you can book a cruise on Nova Scotia’s sailing ambassador.
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Old Town Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage site, features the finest surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America. Presciently, the Town preserved the wooden architecture of its houses, many brightly-painted, and public buildings. It’s like stepping into centuries past.
Lunenburg and Nova Scotia have a proud maritime heritage. It’s fully on display at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, you can explore wharf-side vessels, visit an extraordinary aquarium, and board a tall ship, Salt Banker Theresa E. Connor. Other attractions include the Halifax and Southwestern Railway Museum, and the Lunenburg Heritage Society’s Knaut-Rhuland House Museum.
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Only an hour from Halifax, Lunenburg feels much more remote. It takes you back, to the days of sailing ships, and the timeless sea.
Originally published in Cruise & Travel Lifestyles Winter/Spring 2017 issue.