CBC Digital Archives

Lunenburg: a World Heritage Site

Wonders of nature and marvels made by people stretch all across Canada. From a preserved Haida village in B.C. through Alberta's rich dinosaur fossil grounds to old Quebec City and a Viking settlement in Newfoundland, 15 remarkable Canadian places have been deemed World Heritage sites by the United Nations. CBC Digital Archives takes a tour of some of these internationally recognized national treasures.

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This is not a re-creation or a museum; people actually live here. The mayor of Lunenburg makes this clear about his town of about 2,300 people, which has been distinguished as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Blessed with ocean frontage and a sloping landscape, and adorned by a collection of colourfully painted homes, shops and churches, Lunenburg attracts a quarter of a million visitors each year. This year, its natural charm caught the attention of the popular U.S. TV program Good Morning America, which has come to film a special. In this 1996 CBC-TV report, residents and tourists alike explain why they love Lunenburg.
• As reporter Clare Mackenzie explains in this piece, Lunenburg was established in 1753 when "1,200 settlers arrived on these shores ... Most of them were German or Swiss, looking for a better way of life in a new world. They had been farmers in their homelands but over the years these people learned the ways of the waters and became successful fishermen and shipbuilders."
  • In 1992, the Government of Canada designated "Old Town" Lunenburg as a National Historic District.

• The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) explains why it named Lunenburg a World Heritage Site in 1995. "Old Town Lunenburg is the best surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America. Established in 1753, it has retained its original layout and overall appearance, based on a rectangular grid pattern drawn up in the home country. The inhabitants have safeguarded the town's identity throughout the centuries by preserving the wooden architecture of the houses and public buildings, some of which date from the 18th century and which constitute an excellent example of a sustained vernacular architectural tradition."

• Lunenburg is the homeport of the Bluenose II, a replica of the legendary Nova Scotia fishing schooner built in 1921. The Bluenose was a racing icon, repeatedly besting American ships by winning the International Fisherman's Trophy for 18 years straight. The Bluenose II was built in 1963 by many of the same workers who constructed the original vessel.

• The Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic is one of Lunenburg's feature attractions. Its exhibits and aquarium are an homage to the relationship between Lunenburg and the sea.

Medium: Television
Program: 1st Edition
Broadcast Date: Aug. 16, 1996
Guest(s): Laurence Mawhinney
Reporter: Clare MacKenzie
Duration: 6:56

Last updated: February 16, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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