Nova Scotia Archives

Lunenburg by the Sea


General Views

The first visual representations of Lunenburg which can be dated and ascribed are probably Henry Pooley's two watercolours, done in 1816. The following year, a professional landscape painter named John Elliott Woolford accompanied the newly-appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, George Ramsey, 9th Earl of Dalhousie, on a formal tour of the province. 'On the South Settlement near Lunenburgh' and 'Distant view of Lunenburgh', both dated 23 July 1817, nicely capture a small, neat community perched on the edge of the sea.

At the same time Lord Dalhousie recorded his own impressions of the community, noting in his diary for 24 July 1817 that "The fort saluted, & a Captain's Militia Guard attended, commanded by Major Ernst. At Col. Rudolf's we were visited by all the respectable people of the place...." The governor went on to observe that "All here is German, scarcely do they speak English intelligibly. Agriculture is their only pursuit, they are not wealthy, but live frugally, & are all comfortable, a singular circumstance that there never has yet been a Pauper, maintained by the Parish."

A few years later Captain William Moorsom, writing in his Letters from Nova Scotia, recorded another impression of Lunenburg and provided a little more detail: "On approaching Lunenburg the coast becomes indented in the most singular manner with inlets and coves, almost isolating the numerous peninsulas that rise in small hills between them. The town of Lunenburg is situated at the innermost extremity of a peninsula of this description."

Moorsom also noted that the town had 1100 residents, almost 130 dwellings and additional storehouses. He observed that the community was more compact than most, had been laid out at right angles, and was built on the steep slopes of a hill. The upper houses were on the crest of this slope, which in turn led up to a half-concealed parapet still surmounted by a blockhouse.

The topographical alignment and positioning of the community around its hilly prominence remain one of Lunenburg's defining aspects. The South Shore of Nova Scotia (1931) again described the town as being "on the southern exposure of a steep hill, and approaching from the sea, it has the appearance of a town much larger than it actually is. Its rows of houses built one above the other give it a picturesque and attractive appearance."

The 2003 Doers' and Dreamers' Guide, published by the NS Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, builds yet again on this theme of Lunenburg's tidy compactness and visual beauty, noting its "colourful waterfront, narrow streets and captivating architecture [which] radiate the flavour of the town's seafaring heritage." The superb preservation of Old Town Lunenburg led to its designation as a Canadian National Heritage District in 1991 and as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.


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lunenburg200300153
"Report of the state and strength of the Forts and Batteries &cc...Nova Scotia ..."
Date: 1 July 1813
Reference no.: Great Britain Army. Royal Engineers Nova Scotia Archives MG 12 RE vol. 52

Theme: General Views

lunenburg200300069
"South-east view of Lunenburg, 1816"
Date: 1816
Format: watercolour
Artist: Henry Pooley
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives

Theme: General Views

lunenburg200300070
"South-west view of Lunenburg, 1816"
Date: 1816
Format: watercolour
Artist: Henry Pooley
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives

Theme: General Views

lunenburg31109
"On the South Settlement Near Lunenburgh"
Date: 23 July 1817
Format: watercolour
Artist: John Elliott Woolford
Reference no.: History Section, Nova Scotia Museum no. 78.45.75 no. 31109

Theme: General Views

lunenburg31110
"Distant View of Lunenburgh"
Date: 23 July 1817
Format: watercolour
Artist: John Elliott Woolford
Reference no.: History Section, Nova Scotia Museum no. 78.45.76 no. 31110

Theme: General Views

lunenburg200300042
Lunenburg Harbour
Date: ca. 1820
Reference no.: Great Britain Army. Royal Engineers Nova Scotia Archives Map Collection: HG REO O.11

Theme: General Views

lunenburg200300067
"View of Lunenburg from Battery Point"
Date: 1861
Format: engraving
Artist: Captain Campbell Hardy, RA
Reference no.: NSARM Newspapers Nova Scotia Archives The Illustrated London News, 5 October 1861 p. 347

Theme: General Views

lunenburg200300066
"Goldwashing near Lunenburg"
Date: 1861
Format: engraving
Artist: Captain Campbell Hardy, RA
Reference no.: NSARM Newspapers Nova Scotia Archives The Illustrated London News, 5 October 1861 p. 347

Theme: General Views

lunenburg200300088
"Lunenburg, N.S."
Date: ca. 1890
Photographer: Notman Studio
Reference no.: Notman Studio Nova Scotia Archives no. 68215 / negative no. N-8314

Theme: General Views

lunenburg200300082
"Bird's Eye View of Lunenburg, Mahone Bay and Ritcey's Cove"
Date: 1890
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives / negative no. N-912

Theme: General Views

lunenburg200300047
"Lunenburg by the Sea"
Date: ca. 1896
Artist: L. Brown
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Library VF vol. 135 no. 32

Theme: General Views

lunenburg200300099
Lunenburg from near Hospital Hill
Date: 1898
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Photo Collection: Places: Lunenburg: Harbour (2) / negative no. N-0316, N-1705

Theme: General Views

lunenburg200300100
The Harbour at Lunenburg
Date: 1898
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Photo Collection: Places: Lunenburg: Harbour (1) / negative no. N-205, N-8483

Theme: General Views

lunenburg200321222
"Lunenburg from Hospital Hill"
Date: ca. 1900
Reference no.: Edith Read Nova Scotia Archives 1996-78 #70

Theme: General Views

lunenburg200321248
Lunenburg, NS
Photographer: W.R. MacAskill
Reference no.: W.R. MacAskill Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1987-453 no. 4055

Theme: General Views
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