Nova Scotia Archives

Lunenburg by the Sea


The Fisheries

Although Lunenburg has traditionally been famous for its fishing fleet, it was not always thus. Charles Morris noted, for example, in his Description and state of the new settlements in Nova Scotia (1761) that Lunenburgers "have no inclination for the Fishery tho' well situated for that purpose."

Anthony Lockwood, however, writing a half-century later in his Brief Description of Nova Scotia (1818), marked the community's transition from land to sea: "Vessels of different descriptions are now constantly plying between this settlement [Lunenburg] and Halifax, carrying to market, chord-wood [sic], lumber, hay, cattle, stock, and all kinds of vegetables." Oddly enough, the one commodity he did not mention was fish.

A decade later, Captain Moorsom noted that "Fifteen square-rigged vessels are owned in the port, besides a multitude of small craft. Their trade consists in exports of fish and some lumber to the West Indies, and a very considerable coasting traffic with Halifax and Newfoundland, in farming produce."

A century later, in 1927, Douglas Ewart Hamilton, in his book The Maritime Provinces, described a community at the height of its dialogue with the sea, noting in particular the harbour, where one could see "at anchor a hundred big schooners and more, all rigged alike and all painted black, and all shifting and dipping their bows in unison in obedience to the dictates of tide and wind and wave."

McAlpine's Gazetteer for 1919 reported that the town and county combined had 200 vessels with a total tonnage of over 20,000 tons, and that over 3000 men were employed in the Banks fisheries. The Gazetteer correctly noted that Lunenburg was "The chief fishing port or Gloucester of Canada, having the largest fishing fleet in the Dominion...." The Atlantic Gazetteer and Industrial Directory for 1939 not only echoed the earlier comment in calling Lunenburg "the chief fishing port of Canada," but also added a new and significant distinction won during the 1930s — namely that Lunenburg was the "home of the Fisherman's International Championship Racing Schooner, 'Bluenose,' Capt. Angus Walters."


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lunenburg200300034
"List of vessels anchored for examination by Health Officer at Lunenburg at the Quarantine Ground, at that place, during the year 1849."
Date: 12 February 1850
Reference no.: NS House of Assembly Petitons Nova Scotia Archives RG 5 P vol. 45 no. 165

Theme: The Fisheries

lunenburg200300040
Lunenburg Harbour in winter
Date: ca. 1890
Reference no.: E.G. Owens Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1973-88  / negative no. N-916

Theme: The Fisheries

lunenburg200300130
View of Harbour with buildings in foreground
Date: ca. 1900
Reference no.: Bailly Family Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1985-562 no. 67 / negative no. FP/DN1366

Theme: The Fisheries

lunenburg200300089
Schooners at wharf and nets drying
Date: ca. 1900
Photographer: W.L. Bishop
Reference no.: W.L. Bishop Nova Scotia Archives no. 108

Theme: The Fisheries

lunenburg200300091
View of fish drying on flakes
Date: ca. 1900
Photographer: W.L. Bishop
Reference no.: W.L. Bishop Nova Scotia Archives no. 104

Theme: The Fisheries

lunenburg200300105
"Smith's Wharf, Lunenburg, N.S."
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Photo Collection: Places: Lunenburg: Smiths Wharf

Theme: The Fisheries

dennis200802187
Covered fish drying on flakes at the waterfront
Date: 1930-1940
Photographer: Clara Dennis
Reference no.: Clara Dennis Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1983-468 no. 258

Theme: The Fisheries

dennis200802244
Fish drying on flakes in front of house
Date: 1930-1940
Photographer: Clara Dennis
Reference no.: Clara Dennis Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1983-468 no. 315

Theme: The Fisheries

macaskill200330571
Cleaning and salting fish
Photographer: W.R. MacAskill
Reference no.: W.R. MacAskill Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1987-453 no. 4327

Theme: The Fisheries

lunenburg200300084
Ox team, cart and dried salt cod
Date: ca. 1940
Photographer: Robert Norwood
Reference no.: Robert Norwood Nova Scotia Archives o. 163.1

Theme: The Fisheries

lunenburg200300085
Ox team with dried salt cod
Date: ca. 1940
Photographer: Robert Norwood
Reference no.: Robert Norwood Nova Scotia Archives no. 163.3

Theme: The Fisheries

macaskill200311484
Schooners and dories
Photographer: W.R. MacAskill
Reference no.: W.R. MacAskill Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1987-453 no. 4042

Theme: The Fisheries

macaskill200311491
Sails drying at the wharf
Photographer: W.R. MacAskill
Reference no.: W.R. MacAskill Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1987-453 no. 4049

Theme: The Fisheries

lunenburg200321255
Wharf scene
Date: 1942
Photographer: E.A. Bollinger
Reference no.: E.A. Bollinger Nova Scotia Archives no. 942-547-18

Theme: The Fisheries

lunenburg200300079
Men on deck at the wharf
Date: 1942
Photographer: E.A Bollinger
Reference no.: E.A. Bollinger Nova Scotia Archives no. 1942-556-dd

Theme: The Fisheries
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