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Sunday, 12 January 2020

Lunenburg Legacy

Our travels one August Saturday led us to the beautiful seaside town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Reknown for the Bluenose Schooner (as seen on the backside of the Canadian dime), Lunenburg is a picturesque town of approximately 2,300 residents. It has quite an interesting history.  The Acadians settled into the area between 1630 and 1689.  Logging and agriculture were prominent trades.  About a century later, the British established the area for protestants, from select areas of Europe, and granted "land lotteries" for them upon their arrival in 1753.  By the 19th century, seagoing trade started becoming more prominent.

In 1921, a fishing and racing schooner was built and launched by a company called the Smith & Rhuland Shipyard.  It was called the Bluenose.  It won every international fishing series race over a 17-year span and created for itself quite a reputation.

The Heritage dedication to the Bluenose

During WW2, Lunenburg contributed heavily to the war efforts, not only by providing ships and balaclavas, but by also facilitating training to exiled Norwegian whalers for the Royal Norwegian Navy and accommodating Canadian sailors while ships were in re-fit.

Lunenburg's streets are much the same as they were when it was first created.  In 1983, the streets and buildings were recognized as a national Historic District of Canada.  In 1995, Lunenburg was recognized by UNESCO World Heritage list for its town plan, well-preserved buildings and its contributions to the North Altantic fishery industry.  For more information, you can check out Lunenburg's website, which lists some really interesting information:  http://www.lunenburgns.com/living-in-lunenburg/history/

Our stroll on this particular sunny Saturday started off with an hour-long drive to a tourist information house, just outside the area.  We were told about the best spots to park (aka free or in spots where nobody else parks), one of them being right behind the local rec centre.  Once we got into town, we found it quite easily, parked, then started our trek towards downtown.  It was hot outside that day...really hot!  I was glad I wore a t-shirt that day.  It was hard to decide as I didn't know how the weather would fare, but decided on my "CFB Lahr" shirt.  A tribute to when I lived in Lahr, Germany as a child.

As we walked, I noticed the quiet calm in the air.  There wasn't much wind, so we tried to walk in the shady areas as best we could.  However, as we were passing some tennis courts, I happened to see something that peaked my interest.  We crossed the street towards a semi-abandoned parking lot by the water, in front of an old warehouse.  Old and worn but definitely one that had seen much use over the years.  But, what drew me to the lot wasn't the building, but a large chunk of concrete that was erected facing the street-front.  We walked over to it, and my jaw hit the ground.  It was a piece of the Berlin wall! 

"How the heck did you get here?"  I asked it out loud.  I was astounded.  I got shivers despite the heat.  Growing up in Germany during the early 1970's, I knew about the Berlin wall...we were warned about not going anywhere near the area.  Travelling there was not something that was done.  And yet, here in front of us was a symbol of both oppression and freedom.  I walked over to it and just stood in front of it.  Tentatively, I reached out and touched it.  It was cool and rough to the touch.  It definitely had seen much in its lifetime.  My mind raced a mile a minute imagining what this piece of rock represented and the journey it took to get to its resting place here.  I couldn't believe that here it sat, in Lunenburg of all places.  I asked my husband to take a photo, and then I sent it to my sister. 

After a few minutes of contemplation, we continued along the roadway until we saw a trail, then followed that towards town.  Along the way, we encountered an older gentleman, who I stopped and asked whether he lived in Lunenburg.  When he said he did, I asked him about the segment of the Berlin wall.  He told me about the large German community that came to Lunenburg, and supposed that's why the wall piece was brought here; as a reminder of the struggles and freedoms that came with it.  I thanked him and we continued along the trail.  We came across a quaint little sitting area that overlooked the water.  There were two chairs facing the water, so people could take in the view and relax.  While we did not have time to sit and spend time looking over the water, those chairs were sure tempting!

Seating along the trail looked very inviting!

About 10 minutes later, we reached our destination.  On our right was the sparkling water and boardwalk area, and to our left were various restaurants, shops and glimpses of the shipping industry that was once so abound in the area.  I was tickled by the homes and the varying colours - they were very reminiscent of the Maritimes' unique homes!

Some of the shops along the main road

One of the interesting buildings in the area









 

 
 


 
We continued our walk along the main road and came across a memorial.  There were four columns - each situated at North, South, East, West corners.  Dedicated to individuals and vessels lost at sea, it was a somber reminder of the struggles and hardships many faced.  It was beautifully made and people were walking around each column.
 





 


As we walked along the boardwalk and took in the view, we could imagine what it was like to live in such a beautiful town with such a rich history.  If you are able to travel to Nova Scotia, Lunenburg is definitely one of the places to visit. 

Until next time...













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