Despite initial hardships, by the late 18th century Lunenburg supplied Halifax with many agricultural products. Lunenburgers had also entered the offshore fishery, today the foundation of the local economy. They first fished off the Labrador coast, but with the introduction of new trawling techniques in the late 1860s, the town's schooner fleet turned to the GRAND BANKS of Newfoundland and the Western Bank, southwest of SABLE ISLAND. The "Lunenburg cure" of dried cod found steady markets in the West Indies, particularly Puerto Rico.
"A boom of splendid proportions" (Lunenburg Progress, 1888) did not persist, however. The fish export trade became centralized in Halifax, where fast steamships left directly for the West Indies and US markets. Moreover, a preference appeared for fresh instead of dried fish. Local entrepreneurs, especially the Smith and Zwicker families, made adjustments to recapture lost trade. Beginning in the late 1920s, cold-storage equipment, processing plants and diesel-powered trawlers replaced cod-drying flakes and traditional schooners.
The fishery is celebrated annually in the Fisherman's Picnic and Reunion and the FISHERIES MUSEUM OF THE ATLANTIC is found here. The famous racing schooner BLUENOSE was launched from a local shipyard in 1921.
Several churches, including Canada's oldest Presbyterian (St Andrew's, founded in 1769) and Lutheran (Zion, founded in 1770), and second-oldest Anglican (St John's, founded in 1754), as well as a rich architectural tradition, testify to Lunenburg's historical significance. "Old Town" Lunenburg was designated a national historic district in 1992 and a UNITED NATIONS WORLD HERITAGE SITE in 1995. The film industry has been attracted by the town's picturesque location and architectural heritage. The town hosts a craft festival in July and a folk festival in August.
Author L.D. MCCANN
Winthrop Pickard Bell, The Foreign Protestants and the Settlement of Nova Scotia (1990); Brian Cuthbertson, Lunenburg: Then and Now (2002); M.B. DesBrisay, A History of Lunenburg County (1895); Lunenburg Heritage Society, A Walk Through Old Lunenburg (1979).
Links to Other Sites
United Nations World Heritage Sites
Information about locations in Canada that have been designated United Nations World Heritage Sites. From the United Nations website.
This site offers the latest news and videos about the relaunch of the Bluenose II schooner in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Also offers an illustrated history of the original "Bluenose."
The GeoNOVA Portal is the Province of Nova Scotia's gateway to geographic information about Nova Scotia.
Watch the Heritage Minute about the legendary Canadian schooner Bluenose from the Historica-Dominion Institute. See also related online learning resources.
The website for the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg. Features news about local government services and community events. Home of the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.
Lunenburg by the Sea
This extensive resource about the history of Lunenburg includes a collection of historical illustrations, photographs, documents, maps and assorted artifacts. By the Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management and with assistance from Canadian Heritage, the National Archives of Canada and the Canadian Council of Archives.
Bluenose: A Canadian Icon
This virtual exhibit about the famous Grand Banks fishing schooner features vintage videos and photographs. From Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management.
Nova Scotia Railway Heritage Society
A great resource for railway heritage sites throughout Nova Scotia.
Bird's Eye Views of Nova Scotia's Historic Places
Check out the interactive maps and travel along a nineteenth century street. Click on a highlighted building or place and see what it looks like today. And, find out about its heritage value and preservation history from the Nova Scotia Register of Historic Places.
Webcams broadcast Bluenose II reconstruction
A CTV News story about the rebuilding of the famous schooner Bluenose II in Lunenburg, NS.
Atlantic Provinces Chambers of Commerce
The website for the Atlantic Provinces Chambers of Commerce (APCC), formerly the Maritime Board of Trade. Formed in 1896, this organization promotes and supports business and economic development in Atlantic Canada. Click on "Chambers" for links to local Chambers of Commerce.
Nova Scotia: Community Profiles
Search for statistical profiles of communities in the Province of Nova Scotia.
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