Got a tall ship that needs fixing?


As the first British Colonial settlement in Nova Scotia, outside Halifax, Lunenberg dates back to 1753. If like many Canadian children, you ate the odd fish finger or two, you may be interested to know that this is also where Captain Highliner hangs out.

The brightly painted buildings, many of which date back to 1700s and 1800s, and the beautiful natural setting make Lunenberg a picturesque town, whose original plan and architecture has changed little in 250 years.


Lunenberg has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site based on its natural and cultural significance. Apparently it's also a good place to get your tall ship fixed. More on that later.


We arrived in the late afternoon, we spent some time exploring before grabbing a bottle of wine and having a pre-dinner drink on our balcony overlooking the harbour. (Compared to Halifax, we found Lunenberg to be fairly sleepy).  That said, along the waterfront, there is so much colour and texture. Many working shipbuilders make their homes here.


The bright colours were perfect agains the grey sky which had descended for just a few hours.


The next day it was up early for breakie which was hard to find before 9am. My brother and I ended up in Fulton's General Store which is one of those fabulous places that all medium sized towns have where you can buy a pair of underwear, a wedding present or a cold remedy all under one roof.  They had delicious coffee and bacon cheddar muffins individually wrapped in cling film with hand written tags.  We later met my dad at the Dockside Restaurant and had some more coffee while he had a traditional fry up which looked, and by all reports was fantastic, and later would receive the best breakfast of the trip award.


Those who know me well and have travelled with me before know that I have been afflicted with what I like to call the  almighty curse of the scaffolding. Where I go, it goes. Yep, if there's something worth seeing, chances are it's under construction. London, New York, Madrid - I've had the pleasure of viewing Big Ben, The New York Public Library and the stunning Plaza de Correos, under scaffolding. And so it was in Lunenberg, UNESCO World Heritage site and home of the Bluenose II (aka the #1 thing to see here, racing ship, fishing vessel and Canadian icon) and yes, you guessed  - it's currently being rebuilt.  So after breakfast we donned our hard hats and visited it in a massive covered shed.


It was still fairly interesting to see and it seems a massive undertaking with the hull being completely rebuilt. I’m told she will be ready for sail again in spring of 2012 so one day I hope to see her in her full glory. Until then, anyone who wants to keep tabs on the restoration can do so via live webcam. Interesting they've got quite a bit done since I was there.

This was our last day in Nova Scotia so after our tour of Bluenose II we hit the road for beautiful, sunny PEI.

Historic Halifax

When my sister decided to get married in Prince Edward Island, my entire family was delighted to be able to finally visit the Maritimes and we booked our trip so we could also spend a few days in Nova Scotia.  First stop, Halifax. Halifax is a city rich in history. There was a British settlement here as early as 1749 and  it was the seat of Canada's first legislature, which first met in 1759 and later in 1858 became the first site of responsible government among the colonies of the British Empire.

On our first day in Halifax, I was keen to check out the Halifax Seaport Farmer's market. Established in 1750 by Royal Proclamation, the market claims to be the oldest continuously running market in North America. It is now housed in a modern building which uses green energy, at the entrance to Halifax Harbour .

Halifax Seaport Farmer's Market

Having already had breakfast, I was a bit annoyed with myself as there were lots of tasty and delicious things to sample from many diverse vendors. Wine, cheeses and local produce all feature heavily as well as arts and crafts, jewellery and other design products.

Cheese at Halifax Farmer's Market
Halifax Farmer'sMarket Vendor

Right around the corner from our hotel and on the way to the Halifax Public Gardens, on the corner of Spring Garden Road and Barrington Street, we stumbled across the Old Burying Ground which dates from 1749,the same year as the original Halifax settlement was founded. It closed in 1843 and is resting place of many of the city's founding fathers including such notable personalities as British Major General Robert Ross who burned Washington in the War of 1812 and died during that same war.

Halifax Graveyard

Further up Spring Garden Road, you arrive at the Halifax Public Gardens, a brilliant example of a Victorian style garden. Opened in 1867, it remains a wonderful oasis in the heart of a modern city.

Halifax Public Gardens

Covering more than 16 acres, the gardens remain one the oldest Victorian style gardens in North America.


From here, we were just a stone's throw from the Citadel so on we soldiered to see one of Canada's most historic places. It was completed in 1856 after 28 years of construction and was part of the British Defences against the United States because of its prominent, fortified location overlooking Halifax's natural harbour.  It was never attacked, but later served as a garrison for the Canadian Army during the 1st and 2nd World Wars.

HalifaxCitadel Drummer

The view is impressive and you from the lookout points high on the fortress walls you can see the entire harbour and the modern city that has evolved.

Halifax Citadel