The restored Bluenose II is finally ready to take its first dip into the ocean.
The government of Nova Scotia announced Tuesday it will host a special celebration to launch the famous schooner in Lunenburg on Sept. 29.
The two-year renovation project has been plagued with controversy.
The initial plan was for the Bluenose II to set sail in July, in time for the lucrative tourist season. But the project was delayed due to safety concerns and bureaucratic issues. Peter Kinley, with the Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance, said in July they were still receiving drawings for the final design.
Along the way, there were questions about cost overruns. But the Province said the project will cost $15.9 million, which is on par with the initial estimate. The Federal Government is chipping in nearly $5 million, with Nova Scotia covering the rest.
In a release, Communities, Culture and Heritage minister Leonard Preya said it has been worth the wait.
"So many people have been waiting for this day to come, the excitement is at a fever pitch," he said. "We expect thousands of people to see the Bluenose II officially return to the water on Sept. 29."
The Province said the celebrations will include musical entertainment and a fireworks show.
"It will be absolutely magical to see her back in the water," said Lunenburg Mayor Laurence Mawhinney in the release.
While the party will be the official first dip, the Bluenose II will undergo several test runs in the days leading up to the launch. The schooner is currently sitting on a land-based slipway and it will slide into the water.
On Sept. 29, the boat will be winched out, and then towed beside the Fisheries Museum to be displayed.
The original Bluenose was famous for winning every race in 18 years of competition after its launch in 1921. It was built in Lunenburg in the same shipyard as the current renovation. The schooner is featured on the Canadian dime.