Tag Archives: Bluenose

Lunenburg’s Bluenose Academy

A piece of Lunenburg's History

The foyer in the new Bluenose Academy in Lunenburg

Over the past year things have been pretty darned busy around Lunenburg Nova Scotia. Why? Well, once upon a time there were four schools teaching the children of the Town of Lunenburg and surrounding areas: The very famous Lunenburg Academy (P-5), Riverport Elementary School (P-6), Centre Consolidated (P-9) and Lunenburg Junior Senior High School (6-12). Over the past couple of years these schools have amalgamated, and a brand new modern school was built in Lunenburg to house the P-9 kids. The cool thing about the school is that the kids were able to have some input into the whole project: the school’s name, the mosaic on the floor in the entranceway (which I helped to build .. how very, very cool it was to be included on that project – I enjoyed every minute of it!), each student in P-9 that was enrolled in the schools while the mosaic was being built also had an opportunity to lay some of the tiles as well. They picked the school colours, the school’s mascot .. they are currently designing Bluenose Academy anti-bullying t-shirts. So the kids have been very involved. Sadly, they didn’t get to pick its location – the one real bone of contention… well, the only bone of contention that nothing can be done about … the other bones that come with any huge big sweeping change like this are quickly composting, and will soon be sprouting fresh, new, happy life.

The school itself is unlike anything on the South Shore. Very modern, very green .. and by that I don’t mean the colour green, I mean enrivonmentally friendly. Lights that turn off automatically if there is no movement in a room for 15 minutes (or some similar amount of time); toilets that use recycled rainwater; green (and this time I DO mean the colour .. grassy) roofs … as well as all the modern computerised equipment you can imagine in each classroom. Even entering the building is a modern big city rigamarole, which we aren’t really used to around here, being quiet, lazy Lunenburg. But we parents are quickly adapting.

The playground is open even to kids who do not attend the school (after school hours anyway), which is very cool because the playground is very cool indeed. It looks quite skeletal – like the skeleton of a huge stegasaurus .. or so says a young expert around here that anyone who knows ME will also know.

The reason I want to write about the school is because everyone has this idea about Lunenburg: slow, sleepy Lunenburg, where pedestrians have the right-of-way and shops close early so everyone (EVERYONE) can enjoy the gorgeous evenings and entertainment, steeping themselves slowly in the folklore that is dripping from the buildings, the trees – the very air they’re breathing. But in the midst of this step-back-in-time is a truly modern, top notch facility which is educating our children at a level at par or better than many schools in the modern cities around the world.

Yes, Lunenburg’s got it all.

Wow – Is there anywhere nicer than Spring in Nova Scotia???

So it’s hard to believe, but we’re back into the full swing of things and a year has gone by along with a whole lot of non-blogs. The good thing is we have been travelling the province looking for new and unique things to write about that maybe not all of you have heard about a million times. Easy hikes so very close to where we live that I never knew about! All those hidden gems … I’ll be filling you in on all the details as the days and weeks go by, and we get closer and closer to another summer in paradise.

I had quite the shock last weekend when I drove into Mahone Bay and saw the crane there — it’s one of the signs of spring here in Mahone Bay. We’ve got spring peepers, waking bears, baby fawns, daffodils, robins, hummingbirds, and The Crane. The huge, graceful, long-necked beast who crawls slowly into the Mahone Bay wharf and situates itself just perfectly to start plucking the many boats, one by one, and laying them ever-so-gently into the water so the very excited owners can hop inside and go park up their boat for the summer. The Bay is full and with the coming of the crane comes the excited anticipation of another season with visitors from all around the world.

Not just Mahone Bay, of course, but Lunenburg too now has a full front harbour including a rather magnificent looking sailing boat which is parked up there at the moment. Sadly the Picton Castle has left us once again, and it was sad to see her leave. If you are headed this way you really need to keep an eye on the Bluenose — she’s being rebuilt (have you heard?) and she’s very nearly done. What happens once she’s done? The launching of course! An historic moment here in Lunenburg and you should be there, I know I will be.

So with spring bursting out all over I realise it’s time to sit down and fill you in on everything that’s happening here. A daunting task, as we really are a very busy little place, but I’m ready to take it on!

Come back soon. I think tomorrow I’ll touch quickly on the new Bluenose Academy, and then later this week I’ll show & tell our latest hike — to Apron Falls.

Folkart Festival (not to be confused with Folk Festival!)

So there are a huge number of festivals and events coming up in the near future, and I intend to chat a wee bit about each one. In no particular order … except that I’ll do my darndest to chat about it before it actually happens.

So the Folkart Festiva is one which happens in Lunenburg on 31 July 2011. There are over 50 artists from around Nova Scotia with their work on display for purchase, along with a big art auction and special exhibits. If you like art (and MAN do I love art … particularly folkart) you need to come have a look. Where else will you find such a huge collection of Nova Scotian art to view and purchase? Doug Dorkin, William Roach, Barry Colpitts to name but a few. The list goes on and on, with several brand new artists displaying their work this year: Joan Bent, Real Lachance, Fabienne Leydecker, Ronald Margeson, Carol Rogers, Ashley Slauenwhite & Carla Zwicker. Man alive! Go to their website, why don’t you, and check out the complete listing of all the artists there. Really, if you consider yourself to be someone interested at all in art of any sort you need to visit this.

Where better to view all this art than in the architecturally fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia! Wow – check out the art, then stroll the waterfront and see real, honest-to-goodness fisherman working harder than hard for their living while you are on your way to see the Bluenose II being rebuilt. Yes, you heard right! The Bluenose II is being rebuilt. Right here. Right now. Like, as I type they are doing the work. And you know what? When you’re done there why not stroll on up to the Band Rotunda for live music every Sunday … July 31st? It just happens to be a Sunday. :)

City? Schmitty. Head down this way and really see some of Nova Scotia.

Life in Lunenburg & Mahone Bay

So I kind of had an incredible day today, and it made me want to write about what it’s like – living here, in the Lunenburg/Mahone Bay are of Nova Scotia. It’s pumping all summer and quiet enough to hear a pin drop in the winter.

I grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and spent years and years travelling. Living in big cities: London UK and Auckland & Christchurch, New Zealand. Halifax is really the perfect city for me, because I felt so tiny in really big cities. Even after I lived there for years it would still be possible for me to get lost, because there were parts of those cities I hadn’t explored enough to find my way out of without a map. When we moved down to Nova Scotia’s South Shore, everyone told me I was making a mistake: I’d regret it, they said. I wouldn’t last a year and I’d be wanting to move back to the city. I don’t think it’s possible to be more wrong than those people were.

Today I was out pounding the cement in Lunenburg, working on Canada’s Census (a part-time job I have taken on this summer to help with the bills). I was walking through town for about 2 hours, and in those two hours I had so many unique experiences with the wonderful people who live there. I enrolled two of my children in an awesome free course run through the Public Library; I met a lady whose house is decorated with Pufferbellies – a local folkartist who just happens to be my sister. I bumped into old friends, I made new friends. It was a lovely morning.

The other day I had my children at the afternoon swim at the Mahone Bay Pool, and I sat and chatted with the Captain of the Bluenose. Seriously. He was just sitting there relaxing in the sun while his children were swimming. So friendly and unassuming. Famous, and yet just a regular Jo.

I went to the Farmer’s Market last Thursday in Lunenburg and the guy selling apple cider called me over “Trudi! We’ve got more of small jugs of apple cider again – do you still want some?” .. and then as I walked a bit further for some freshly made fishcakes to bring home for supper Anne Shupe, the potter, called me over “Trudi! I have a little gift for your children.” She gave me three little mugs: one for each of my children.

I sometimes get frustrated though: I mean, sometimes in the height of tourist season I have to actually wait at the stop sign and let 4 or 5 cars go by before I can proceed. Seriously! What’s that about! Traffic? We don’t do traffic here. Except, as mentioned, in the busiest part of the summer.

I like that I get a message from my friend in one of the two local grocery stores (there’s Foodland and Save Easy) to let me know if there is a special on for fresh fish. She’ll drop me a line or call me. “Hey Trudi? Fresh haddock tomorrow, and it’s on special. You might want to pop in early before it’s gone.”

I’m a nobody, really. I’m just Trudi Petersen. The youngest of the five Petersen daughters. I travelled and met my husband while travelling in Africa – his family are somebodies, but they are somebodies in New Zealand. Here he is just as unfamous as I am. And we haven’t spent our whole lives here, we Come From Away. And do you know what? It feels like I’m a part of a family. Everywhere I go people know me or know my children. Sometimes I’m called Mrs. Kaboodle; sometimes I’m Mitchell/Jacqui/Shani’s mum; sometimes I’m That Kiwi Bloke’s Wife; at preschool I’m often called Mummy or Teacher Trudi; sometimes I’m That Hostel Woman… but these people here made me someone. I don’t feel like one of a crowd, I feel like I’m my very own person and I’m connected to all of these people.

Living here in Lunenburg and Mahone Bay is what life is all about – what my life is all about. I’m happy here, and I wouldn’t move away for all the tea in China (I’m not much of a tea drinker anyway). It gets quiet in the winter, but there’s only nothing to do if you can’t be bothered to find something. It’s there for you … and in the summer? There’s always something happening somewhere. Always.

This is heaven, this is. You should come see it for yourself. Seriously.

… a dime for your thoughts …

So have you been to Canada before? Maybe yes, maybe no. Have you seen our coins? Our currency? We have a few: pennies; nickels, dimes, quarters, loonies & twoonies. Today I want to chat about our dime .. well, not really. I want to chat about what dons the back of our dime. The dime is the smallest of all our coins, and it is worth 10 cents. On one side is the Queen (of course) and on the other? The Bluenose. Have you heard of her? (No, not the Queen, silly. I KNOW you’ve heard of her. I mean the Bluenose.) Let me just tell you a bit about her.

First of all I guess we should really address her name. Bluenose. ?? Why Bluenose? What a weird name, right? Well, not so much, actually. She’s named the Bluenose because she is Nova Scotian … just like I’m a Bluenose/Bluenoser because I’m Nova Scotia. Starting way back in the 1700s people from this magnificent little peninsula were called Bluenoses or Bluenosers and there are a few explanations as to how that name came about. Irish Bluenose Potatoes: we grew ‘em and exported ‘em (long before ol’ Bud the Spud and the infamous PEI Potatoes make their arrival to our tables); our fishermen, bless their soles, would go out to sea in the bitter cold winters and wear blue woolen gloves to keep their hands warm … have you been in serious cold before? Your nose runs. These guys were far too busy and manly to use a pocket handkerchief and tissues weren’t yet invented (well, maybe they were – not really the point here) so they’d wipe their runny noses with their blue gloves … and stain their noses blue in the process; and it was the nickname given to the Nova Scotia British troops which occupied New York City and Boston during the American Revolution. So that’s where our romantic name was born.

But this Bluenose I’m talking about, she was far more glorious than any old fisherman with a stained nose (not that fishermen aren’t glorious in their own way, of course .. but that’s a whole nother kind of glorious). This Bluenose was launched in 1921 as an incredibly hard-working fishing vessel – a schooner, no less – and a racing boat as well. When she wasn’t working for the local fishing industry she was racing …….. and she was winning. Apart from being defeated in the inaugural Sir Thomas Lipton International Fishing Challenge Cup in 1930, she was undefeatable for 17 years. Each and every American and Canadian ship who came against her was defeated soundly, despite how fancy, famous, modern or expensive the competitors were.

I wish I could just stop the story there, but I can’t. After World War II fishing schooners were done away with, and we ended up being unable to keep the Bluenose here at her home. She was sold, and eventually sunk on a Haitian reef in 1946.

In 1963 a replica was built, the Bluenose II … not a racer or a working schooner she .. okay, wait. She was a working schooner, just not the same kind of work her predecessor did. She sailed tours. It was a promotional boat for Olands Breweries, believe it or not, and then purchased by the province.

After many years of service, she was taken out of the water, dismantled and … wait for it … she is being re-built right now. This very minute. Okay, it’s Sunday, so maybe not this very minute. But a wooden schooner is currently being re-built in Lunenburg and you can go and see this work of magic. You can look at the Bluenose webcams and watch it, but why look at a little picture on your computer screen when you can come and watch history in the making. Many say there will never be another wooden schooner built. This is it. The last. Who knows if they’re right? I don’t. What I do know is that you don’t get many chances to see something like this. And it’s just a walk from the Lunenburg waterfront … which we can drive you to if you stay with us, or you can rent one of our bikes and take the lovely path through the forest. Ahhhhh. Nice.

How many people will be able to say they saw the ship on the Canadian dime being built? Not many. But you can. All you need to do it get here.






Thursday is Farmer’s Market Day in Lunenburg!!

Every Thursday in Lunenburg there’s the awesomest little Farmer’s Market outside of Halifax. We have everything from local organic grain-fed beef, lamb and chicken (and I was actually there on their farm yesterday with my 4-year old son and his preschool class – awesome!!), to locally grown veggies, fresh-baked bread and goodies, plus all sorts of great items from local artisans: incredible leather shoes & sandals (bought myself a pair last summer as my last pair of sandals purchased from this very lady died. How long did they last?, you might ask? Not long … only 24 years .. yup, 24 years. And had I actually taken better care of them in my youth they would have lasted longer .. uh-oh, I think I’m dating myself :) ) ). There are paintings, fresh flowers & herbs .. oh my, oh my. I can’t list everything. It’s at the Lunenburg Rec Centre just near the tennis club and the Bluenose Academy (yup – not only is the Bluenose being built, but the Bluenose Academy is being built as well … a flashy new k-6 school). In the summer months it moves outdoors and there’s live music as well! Whether you stay with us in our little backpackers hostel or not, the Farmers Market is a definite place to be!!

Good Day for a Bluenose

So we’ve woken up to another grey day, but with promises of sunshine this afternoon. What a perfect day to head on into Lunenburg and check out the awesome Fisheries Museum (my family and I actually have a family season pass because we go so often and still keep on loving it) … and for a once in a lifetime experience, walk down the waterfront and actually visit the site where the Bluenose is being rebuilt. Yup, that’s right, the Bluenose is that ship that appears on our dime, and it’s being rebuilt right here in Lunenburg. Here are links to the webcams fyi http://www.novascotiawebcams.com/south-shore/bluenose-ii-stern-view.html and http://www.novascotiawebcams.com/south-shore/bluenose-ii-stern-view.html. You’ll never get to see this again – history in the making!! And once the sun comes out what better place to be than strolling the streets of Lunenburg – a UNESCO World Heritage Town. Awesome!