Nova Scotia Archives

Lunenburg by the Sea

Shipbuilding and Repair

It did not take the early settlers long to realize the potential of the sea which surrounded them — especially when they realized the challenges and limitations inherent in farming the lands they had been given. By the late 1700s, the shift from land to sea had already begun. If the settlers wanted to travel anywhere, they went by sea. To go by sea, they needed a vessel. In a growing community, many vessels were needed for travel and trade.

Thus by August 1787 it was no surprise when the Halifax newspaper noted the arrival in port of "a handsome brig built in Lunenburg." By the 1830s, Lunenburgers owned one ship, six brigs and 68 schooners — the lure of the Banks fishery, with its need for smaller, faster and more agile vessels, had begun. In 1861, during the Golden Age of Sail, there were eighteen vessels on the building stocks in Lunenburg at one time.

Noted pioneer shipbuilder David Smith built his first vessel there in 1862 and continued until 1898. After Smith died in mid-January 1899, The Halifax Herald reported that "he had launched from his yard 104 vessels; and re-built 13. His yearly expenditure was from $15,000 to $20,000. At times there were from 30 to 40 teams a day unloading timber, and he had paid out $1,000 a day for stock."

A few days later, The Halifax Herald again commented on shipbuilding in Lunenburg, under the banner headline 'Boom is on in Lunenburg Shipbuilding', announcing that fifteen vessels were then on the stocks in Lunenburg County — ten on the LaHave River, four in Lunenburg and one in Mahone Bay.

McAlpine's Gazetteer for 1919 noted that Lunenburg's chief industries were "agriculture, fishing, ship and boat building, the latter on a large scale; there are 3 ship yards and 5 boat building establishments." Construction of wooden vessels continued well into the twentieth century — the most famous Lunenburg products are without doubt the Bluenose (1921), Bluenose II (1963) and the replica of HMS Bounty (1960).

Results 1 to 15 of 26 from your search:

SS Lunenburg

Date: ca. 1896

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Library VF vol. 135 no. 32

Theme: Shipbuilding and Repair


Schooner under construction behind W.C. Smith & Co. Ltd.

Date: ca. 1900

[ca.1900]:

Reference: A. Silver Nova Scotia Archives no. 2

Theme: Shipbuilding and Repair


Shipbuilding

Date: ca. 1900

Reference: Bailly Family Nova Scotia Archives 1985-562 no. 63 / negative FP/DN1315

Theme: Shipbuilding and Repair


Lunenburg Waterfront and Schooner under Construction, as seen from the Harbour

Date: ca. 1900

Photographer: W.L. Bishop

Reference: W.L. Bishop Nova Scotia Archives no. 106 / negative N-1607

Theme: Shipbuilding and Repair


"The Bluenose on the slip at Lunenburg, N.S."

Date: 1930

Photographer: Canadian National Railways

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Library PS8537 A119 p.14

Theme: Shipbuilding and Repair


"Lunenburg, N.S."

Date: 1930

Photographer: Canadian National Railways

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives Library PS8537 A119 p.34

Theme: Shipbuilding and Repair


Building schooner, Smith & Rhuland yards, Lunenburg

Photographer: W.R. MacAskill

Reference: W.R. MacAskill Nova Scotia Archives 1987-453 no. 425

Theme: Shipbuilding and Repair


Building schooner, Lunenburg

Photographer: W.R. MacAskill

Reference: W.R. MacAskill Nova Scotia Archives 1987-453 no. 429

Theme: Shipbuilding and Repair


Shipbuilding in Lunenburg showing completed vessel Vagabond Prince and another partially completed in slipways

Date: ca. 1947

Photographer: Canadian National Railways

Reference: Queens County Historical Society Nova Scotia Archives 1978-199 no. 9

Theme: Shipbuilding and Repair


Lunenburg launching day

Photographer: W.R. MacAskill

Reference: W.R. MacAskill Nova Scotia Archives 1987-453 no. 827

Theme: Shipbuilding and Repair


Building schooner

Photographer: W.R. MacAskill

Reference: W.R. MacAskill Nova Scotia Archives 1987-453 no. 426

Theme: Shipbuilding and Repair


"Wooden shipbuilding, Lunenburg"

Date: 1955

Photographer: Nova Scotia Information Service

Reference: Nova Scotia Information Service Nova Scotia Archives NSIS no. 9429

Theme: Shipbuilding and Repair


"Shipbuilding at Smith & Rhuland, Lunenburg"

Date: 1956

Photographer: Nova Scotia Information Service

Reference: Nova Scotia Information Service Nova Scotia Archives NSIS no. 10613

Theme: Shipbuilding and Repair


"Dartmouth Ferry at Smith & Rhuland shipyards"

Date: 1956

Photographer: Nova Scotia Information Service

Reference: Nova Scotia Information Service Nova Scotia Archives NSIS no. 10273

Theme: Shipbuilding and Repair


"Fred Rhuland, builder of the Bounty, Lunenburg"

Date: 1960

Photographer: Nova Scotia Information Service

Reference: Nova Scotia Information Service Nova Scotia Archives NSIS no. 13802 / negative 13802

Theme: Shipbuilding and Repair


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