As we sailed away from the skittles-coloured Lunenburg buildings I started humming Stan Rogers tunes. Sailing on the ship that graces our Canadian dime is a treat I hadn’t experienced since I was 8. My boys, avid sailors themselves, had never had the pleasure. On our most recent trip to Nova Scotia, they got to explore the Bluenose II.
The History of the Bluenose II
Designed by William Roué and built by the Smith and Rhuland Shipyard, the original Bluenose was a Grand Banks fishing and racing schooner. It was launched on 26 March, 1921 in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. First winning the Fishermen’s Trophy in October of 1921, she was undefeated for 17 years. This “Queen of the North Atlantic” was displayed at the Century of Progress World’s Fair in Chicago in 1933 and sailed to England’s Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935. Unfortunately, in 1946 the Bluenose hit a reef near Isle aux Vache, Haiti.
In 1963, a replica was made by Oland Brewery and it was endorsed by the the designer of the original Bluenose. In 2012 it relaunched following a huge retrofit. It’s 128 feet high and 118 feet foremast, with two diesel engines allowing 10 knots and under sail 16 knots. It’s now a goodwill ambassador, tourist favourite and important piece of history brought to life.
This is one of the ‘musts’ on a trip to Nova Scotia – you don’t want to miss out on this experience. During the spring, summer and early autumn, you can catch the Bluenose in port in Lunenburg or at the Halifax Historic Properties. My only regret is that I didn’t race on her back in the day! That would have been amazing. I’m so glad my sons got to take in the magic of the Bluenose II in our travels and I hope you do too!