Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia taxpayers paying to repair damaged Bluenose II reputation

Taxpayers paid about half of the $865,000 earmarked for the effort, which includes a recently aired CBC documentary and a soon-to-be opened "360-degree cinematic experience."

Canadian Maritime Heritage Foundation hoping to 'close the door on negativity'

The Bluenose II sails into Lunenburg harbour. (CBC)

After footing the bill to create a new version of the Bluenose II, taxpayers are now chipping in to repair the famed schooner's damaged reputation.

Taxpayers paid about half of the $865,000 earmarked for the effort, which includes a recently aired CBC documentary and a soon-to-be opened "360-degree cinematic experience." It cost $25 million to rebuild the ship.

Tony Ince, Nova Scotia's Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage, said spending almost $400,000 will ensure the initial outlay for the rebuild will pay off.

'This is a natural draw for people'

"Let's just look at, over the past number of years, that sort of negative legacy. We've put all the money into this, you have to promote it," Ince said Wednesday.

"We need more tourism. We need more visitors. We need people to see this is a natural draw for people in this province."

The documentary, called Bluenose II The Legend Lives, is the brainchild of music promoter Brookes Diamond who sold the idea to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic's foundation. It is the single largest endeavour ever undertaken by the Canadian Maritime Heritage Foundation.

'Reconnecting' to schooner

The foundation's president, John Hennigar-Shuh, said the province agreed to contribute $300,000 to the project. Another $80,515 will come through the Nova Scotia Film and Television Fund. Hennigar-Shuh is hoping the federal government will come through with $100,000.

Hennigar-Shuh said part of what sold him on the project was its ability to "re-connect" Nova Scotians to the schooner, after years of bad publicity surrounding the cost overruns, squabbles and design problems associated with its rebuild. 

"This would be a project where we could help Nova Scotians to close the door on the negativity and re-establish that connection with the brilliance of the Bluenose and the Bluenose story," he said.

'Good use' of taxpayer money

Hennigar-Shuh offered unwavering support for the effort and called it a good use of taxpayer's money.

"Absolutely. If you can help kids in Nova Scotia create dreams that drive their life. That's a pretty important goal and we're just incredibly proud to be part of achieving that," he said.

He was especially anxious to see the new 360-degree exhibit which is being installed next to the museum and according to the Bluenose: The Legend Lives website, opens on Sept. 17.

Hennigar-Shuh saw it as a new way for the museum to showcase Maritime history.

"I think the Maritime Museum is one of the great Maritime museums of the world but you know if we don't do things to change and upgrade the way that we tell stories … we die," he said. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jean Laroche

Reporter

Jean Laroche has been a CBC reporter for 32 years. He's been covering Nova Scotia politics since 1995 and has been at Province House longer than any sitting member.

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