Old church in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

This area was the site of an Indian encampment, a French fishing harbour, and was granted by Oliver Cromwell to Charles de La Tour in 1656, who brought families from France, Switzerland and Germany (primarily Hanover) who built the town 1751-1753. The town has some of the oldest churches in Canada, including St John’s (1754), Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church (1776). In 1782, a fleet from Boston plundered the stores and homes of the town, commemorated by a plaque in the town. Lunenburg is one of the coast’s greatest fishing ports, and was home to the Bluenose schooner, the undefeated champion of the North Atlantic Fishing Fleet in 4 schooner races (and ended up on the Canadian dime).

Eight km south of town on Hwy 3 is the village of Blue Rocks, named for the unusual hue of the surrounding rocks and ledges, and the fishing village of La Have. Just a bit to the north of Lunenburg is the popular town of Mahone Bay.

Town of Lunenburg

Lunenburg- Atlantic Fishermans Museum inside exhibits
Lunenburg- Atlantic Fishermans Museum inside exhibits

Lunenburg Attractions

Cross Island Lighthouse

Cross Island is 90 feet (27m) high and wooded, and it divides the approach to Lunenburg Bay into two channels, the northern one intricate and encumbered with shoals, while the south channel is wide and safe. Cross Island light is shown from a white pyramidal tower, 38 feet (11.7m) high on the east point of the island (44.19N 64.10W). A fog signal of two blasts every minute is sounded from a horn close to the light)

Chester Municipal Heritage Society

Box 168, Chester, NS B0J 1J0
(about25 km east of Lunenburg)
(902) 275-3826

The society owns and operates the Lordly House Museum and the Chester Train Station. The Chester Train Station is home to the Chamber of Commerce Tourist Bureau and the Heritage Art Gallery.  The gallery features local artists’ exhibitions throughout the summer season.

deGarthe Gallery

Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia B0J 2N0
902 823-2256

William Edward deGarthe (1907-1983) was born in Finland, and came to Canada in 1926, after studying in Helsinki. After further studies in Montreal’s Museum of Fine Art, and Sackville New Brunswick’s Mount Allison University, and New York’s Art Students League he settled in Peggy’s Cove and concentrated on marine subjects. He sculpted “Fisherman’s Monument” and donated it to the province. The gallery displays 65 of William E. deGarthe’s paintings and sculptures, all of which were donated by his wife P. Agnes deGarthe in 1993. The pieces follow deGarthe’s progression as a marine artist and sculptor. Admission fee. Open May 1 to October 31

DesBrisay Museum

130 Jubilee Rd, Bridgewater, NS, B4V 2W6
(902) 543-4033

The building is set in the Bridgewater Woodland Gardens and features picnic area and walking trails. Exhibits on the natural history, early settlement, and cultural and industrial growth of Lunenburg County from the early 17th century, as well as temporary and travelling exhibits related to history, science and the arts. Family programs available. Researchers welcome appointment recommended. Open May 15-Sept 30, Mon-Sat 9-5 pm, Sun 1-5pm; Oct 1-May 14, Tues-Sun 1-5 pm. Admission fee in summer.

Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic

68 Bluenose Drive, Lunenburg
902 634-4794

Located on the breath-taking Lunenburg waterfront, the world-class Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, housed in brightly painted red buildings, with floating vessels at wharfside. This Museum commemorates the fishing heritage of the Atlantic Coast of Canada. Fresh and saltwater aquariums are filled with native fish (where you can touch starfish, shellfish and anemones). Other exhibits include a large Bluenose exhibit, the Banks Fisheries Gallery, the Hall of Inshore Fisheries, the Dory Shop, our Whales & Whaling and August Gales exhibits, the Fishermen’s Memorial Room, and lots of other exhibits a bout shipbuilding, rum-running, life in fishing communities & old marine engines. Experience daily demonstrations of fish filleting, lobster traps & traditional crafts. Get your sea legs on the fishing schooner Theresa E. Connor and talk with ‘old’ salts’ that fished the North Atlantic. Allow 2 hours.Open: May 4 to October 27 daily 9:30 – 5:30, and the rest of the year Mon-Fri 8:30 – 4:30. Admission fee.

Dedicated to the memory of fishermen from Lunenburg County lost at sea. Includes Joseph Purcell mural,
names of men and vessels lost. Free Admission. Open May 4 to October 27

Halifax & Southwestern Railway Museum

Bridgewater Mall, 421 LaHave St
(about 12 km west of Lunenburg)
PO Box 178 Bridgewater, NS B4V 3A2

(902) 634-9480 (res)
Displays showing the history of the railway on the South Shore, including many local artifacts from the
H&SW Railway also a large model railroad depicting scences of the area. Open year round
Mon-Sat 10 am – 5  pm except holidays. Admission free, donations appreciated.

Lunenburg docks with the Bluenose II schooner
Lunenburg docks with the Bluenose II schooner

Knaut Rhuland House Museum, The

125 Pelham Street, Lunenburg
(around the corner from the Post Office near the intersection of Pelham and King Street}
PO Box 674, Lunenburg NS B0J 2C0
(902) 634-3498 (seasonal)

The Knaut Rhuland House is a Provincial Heritage site and open to the public, and is in the centre of Old Town Lunenburg, within walking distance to the Front Harbour. The house is a fine example of Georgian architecture dating from 1793 and reflects the life of a successful merchant from the period of approximately 50 years after the settling of Lunenburg by the Foreign Protestants. It was built by Benjamin Knaut and later sold to Conrad Rhuland in the early 1800s. By 1830 the Creighton Family were in residence and their descendants remained until the early 1900s. There are four furnished rooms, an exhibition space, and a research library in the House. Open: June 7-September 30, Mon closed, Tues-Sat 11:00 am-5:00 pm, Sun 1:00 pm-5:00 pm, remainder of year, by appointment. Admission fee.

LaHave Islands Marine Museum

100 LaHave Islands Rd, Bells Island, NS B0R 1C0

Located in the former LaHave Islands United Church. St John Anglican Church, now a heritage site, see a collection of marine artifacts, pertinent to local history and its industry. The church still conducts occasional non-denominational hymn sings, Fishermen’s Memorial service. Free admission. Open June 1 to Labour Day

Lordly House

{133 Central Street}
Box 168, Chester, NS B0J 1J0
(902) 275-3842

The Lordly House Museum features period furnished rooms and other changing local displays showcasing the varied life styles and history of the Municipality of the District of Chester and includes a growing reference section. Displays this year include yacht racing, Oak Island and a native people designed display. The museum is surrounded by park land. May 21-October 15 Mon closed Tues-Sat 10:00 am-5:00 pm Sun 1:00 pm-5:00 pm. Contact the museum to arrange for off-season visits.

Lunenburg Art Gallery

19 Pelham St
Lunenburg, NS B0J 2C0

Exhibits emphasize the work of local artists. Open March 1 to November 30: Tues-Sat 10 am-5:30 pm, Sun 1-5 pm (July-Aug)off-season from Tues-Sat 10 am-4:30 pm Admission free.

Mahone Bay waterfront, Nova Scotia

Lunenburg County Winery

Newburne, Mahone Bay, NS B0J 2E0
(Hwy 103, Exit 11, 24 km inland, at Newburne )
Take a tour of a winery where traditional country fruit wines are made from local berries, grapes and honey U-pick.
Admission free. Open year-round.

Lunenburg Elementary School

Gallows Hill, Kaulbach Street, Lunenburg

Lunenburg Elementary School (formerly the Lunenburg Academy) was constructed in 1849-95, and is one of the last remaining examples of a network of secondary schools built as part of the Nova Scotia academy system in the late 1800’s. The academy system was indicative of attitudes in school design for smaller Canada urban areas during the later part of the 1800s. Older, less complex structures have since been replaced with more modern, sophisticated schools.

Mahone Bay Settlers Museum & Cultural Centre

578 Main Street, Mahone Bay
902 624-6263

The 1847 house features painted ceiling and faux marble fireplace. View exhibits which include the Inglis-Quinlan collection of ceramics and antiques, local architecture, information on settlement by “foreign Protestants” in 1754, shipbuilding history of the town, plus seasonal exhibits. Open June 1 to Labour Day: Tues-Sat 10 am-5pm, Sun 1-5 pm in Sept-Oct inquire locally. Admission by donation.

Petticoat Farm

{Grimm Road, 3 miles west of Lunenburg}
RR 2 Lunenburg, NS B0J 2C0
(902) 634-3721
This 30 acre farmstead is the 1860 home of Joseph Tanner, a Lunenburg fisherman, and his family, with the present house  built in 1895. During a time when the men were away at sea fishing, the women were left to tend to the farm – hence the name Petticoat Farm. Includes period house, barn, hen house, tool shed & wood shop, livestock and 19th century fishing & farming equipment. Forest trails with information on trees, nature growth, wild flowers, etc. and their uses. Open June 15-October 15 1:00 pm-dusk. Admission fee.

Riverport & Area Community Choir Concerts

The Riverport and Area Community Choir performs year round as various festivals and events in and around Riverport. Past appearances include The Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival in Lunenburg and The Wooden Boat Festival in Mahone Bay. The Choir has over 100 members from age 8 to 80 and beyond, and performs a charming mix of folk, traditional and local songs, as well as throwing in the occasional skit and comedy sketch. Performs year-round.

South Shore Genealogical Society

68 Bluenose Drive, Lunenburg
902 634-4794

Located in the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, on the third floor. Microfilmed church records, marriage and death records, family genealogies, census records & tombstone records of Lunenburg & Queens County cemeteries, and old newspapers from Lunenburg County. Research $3 (for non-members) Open year-round.

Pearl Theatre (formerly the Starlight Theatre)

37 Hall St, Lunenburg

A 380 seat venue for live performance, drama, music, variety, European folk dances and children’s theatre. Also available for conventions, lectures, fashion shows, private parties, etc. Open year-round.

Wile Carding Mill Museum

242 Victoria Road, Birdgewater (about 12 km west of Lunenburg)
c/o 60 Pleasant Street, Bridgewater, NS B4V 3X9
(902) 543-8233 fax (902) 543-4713

Dean Wile’s 1860 wool carding mill was busy in the late 1800s. People would deliver oxcarts with their bags of wool to be carded for spinning & weaving or made into batts for wool beds and quilts. The water-powered mill ran 24 hours a day, six days a week, during the peak period in May. As many as five women at a time ran the machine-driven process. The building contains the original machinery, powered by an overshot waterwheel. It is the oldest surviving industrial workplace in Bridgewater. Open June 1-September 30: Mon-Sat 9:30 am-5:30 pm Sun 1:00 pm-5:30 pm. Admission fee.

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia Area Map

Lunenburg Tours and Experiences

These tours depart from Halifax: