Nova Scotia Archives

Lunenburg by the Sea


Anniversaries, Exhibitions and Leisure Activities

Lunenburg was not all work and no play, even in the earliest days. In the mid-nineteenth century, for example, the merchant Adolphus Gaetz recorded various local events, including anniversaries, bazaars, lectures, concerts, dances and picnics, though the pages of his diary, 1855-73. On one occasion in August 1855, Gaetz and his wife joined others for a picnic excursion:

     At 9 O'clock in the morning we embarked on board a large Boat belonging to Casper Mason and sailed down the back harbour between Heckman's Island and the Main, passing through the Bridge we went as far as what is called the Lobster Rock, then returned and encampted [sic] on the second peninsula...we enjoyed some refreshments and after spending a couple of hours at Peter Mason's house, we started again for home where we arrived at 9 O'clock in the evening, all well satisfied with the day's excursions.

On another occasion, in April 1858, he wrote about the 'Ladies Bazaar' held in the Temperance Hall. Fancy goods, meats such as roast beef and hams, and a decadent array of desserts — pies, sweets and everything else from "the best of pound Cake to the common Gingerbread" — were all for sale in abundance. The Temperance Hall was crowded from noon until closing at 10:00 p.m. and the event raised £55 to be used for church purposes.

Music was an integral component of Lunenburg's social life. Church choirs existed prior to the more formal Lunenburg Harmonic Society (1828-30), the St. John's Singing Society (1830-32) and the Lunenburg Glee Club (organized in 1865). Local or visiting musicians entertained at concerts or taught singing. The 'First Artillery Band' was active in 1837, another was formed in 1853 and yet another in 1867. The last-mentioned was attached to an army battalion and became known as the 75th Battalion Band (1880).

The Lunenburg Civilian Band, a great rival of the 75th, was organized under the direction of Allen E. Morash in 1897. Robert Loye, one of the best coronet players in the Maritime Provinces, became bandmaster after Morash retired. The Progress Enterprise for 8 May 1963 reproduced an historic photograph of this band, taken outside the Methodist Church about 1912 on the occasion of a performance for the Sunday School picnic. The newspaper reminisced that "The Civilian Band held practices in the Old Temperance Hall...Bandmaster Robert Loye was considered one of the best at his trade and the men had to practice faithfully and regularly."

The best-known and most popular celebrations in Lunenburg's long history have been those which commemorate the community's ongoing dialogue with the sea. For example, the tradition of fishermen and their families enjoying a day-long 'Fishermen's Picnic' dates back to 1918, when the first event was held on the Old Academy grounds. The Fishermen's Picnic Association was formally incorporated on 23 April 1923; the first subsequent picnic was held on Blockhouse Hill on 19 September and included a parade, land and water sports, and an afternoon performance by the Lunenburg Band. Bill Lynch, a carnival showman famous throughout the Maritime Provinces, began his lengthy career at this annual event, which by 1929 had expanded into a three-day celebration on the Arena Grounds. The event was later known as 'The Annual Fishermen's Reunion and Fisheries Exhibition' and was eagerly anticipated late each summer.


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lunenburg200300028
Centenary Prayer
Date: 16 June 1853
Author: Henry L. Owen
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives MG 100 vol. 180 no. 19a

Theme: Leisure Activities

lunenburg200300016,200300017
Lunenburg Bicentennial Program
Date: 1953
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library VF vol. 135 no. 28

Theme: Leisure Activities

lunenburg200300018,200300019
Lunenburg Bicentennial Program
Date: 1953
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library VF vol. 135 no. 23

Theme: Leisure Activities

lunenburg200300149
Town of Lunenburg 225th Anniversary medallions
Date: 1978
Format: nickel
Reference no.: Artifacts Collection Nova Scotia Archives no. 175.23

Theme: Leisure Activities

nsis12920
"Winners of International Dory Races, Fisheries Exhibition"
Date: 1959
Photographer: Nova Scotia Information Service
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Information Service Nova Scotia Archives NSIS no. 12920 / negative no. 12920

Theme: Leisure Activities

nsis12917
"Dory Race"
Date: 1959
Photographer: Nova Scotia Information Service
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Information Service Nova Scotia Archives NSIS no. 12917 / negative no. 12917

Theme: Leisure Activities

nsis12941
"Motor boat races at Fisheries Exhibition"
Date: 1959
Photographer: Nova Scotia Information Service
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Information Service Nova Scotia Archives NSIS no. 12941 / negative no. 12941

Theme: Leisure Activities

nsis12924
"Lobster trap]making exhibit at Fisheries Exhibition"
Date: 1959
Photographer: Nova Scotia Information Service
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Information Service Nova Scotia Archives NSIS no. 12924 / negative no. 12924

Theme: Leisure Activities

nsis12919
"Parade, Fisheries Exhibition"
Date: 1959
Photographer: Nova Scotia Information Service
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Information Service Nova Scotia Archives NSIS no. 12919 / negative no. 12919

Theme: Leisure Activities

nsis15484
"Shucking scallops at Fisheries Exhibition, Lunenburg"
Date: ca. 1962
Photographer: Nova Scotia Information Service
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Information Service Nova Scotia Archives NSIS no. 15484 / negative no. 15484

Theme: Leisure Activities

nsis16405
"Fileting contest, Lunenburg Fisheries Exhibition"
Date: 1963
Photographer: Nova Scotia Information Service
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Information Service Nova Scotia Archives NSIS no. 16405 / negative no. 16405

Theme: Leisure Activities

nsis20413
"Lunenburg Fisheries Exhibition"
Date: 1966
Photographer: Nova Scotia Information Service
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Information Service Nova Scotia Archives NSIS no. 20413 / negative no. 20413

Theme: Leisure Activities

nsis26488
"Lunenburg Fisheries Exhibition"
Date: 1971
Photographer: Nova Scotia Information Service
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Information Service Nova Scotia Archives NSIS no. 26488 / negative no. 26488

Theme: Leisure Activities

lunenburg200300064,200300065
Lunenburg Harmonic Society Minute Book
Date: 5 December 1829
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives MG 20 vol. 916 no. 4

Theme: Leisure Activities

lunenburg200300012
"75th Battalion Band"
Date: ca. 1885
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library VF vol. 135 no. 23

Theme: Leisure Activities
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