In Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, beauty begets beauty.
This tiny fishing community — the southern heart of Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coastline — surprises many people. Barely 2,300 souls call this historic harbor town home, so you would be forgiven for thinking that not much happens here.
But you’d be wrong.
In all of North America, only one city and one town have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The city— Old Québec— is easily North America’s most beautiful, brimming with history and excitement.
But tiny Lunenburg was UNESCO’s next choice on the continent, and a subtle choice at that. Filled with Victorian homes of uncommon charm, each streetscape seems plucked from a fairy tale. When the fog rolls in off the Atlantic, shrouding the town in gray mist as tall ships like The Bluenose and Picton Castle heave gently against their wharves, all is revealed. In Lunenburg, barely a hand’s breadth separates past from present. This is as close to a thriving town, circa 1870, as the New World can offer to travelers in the 21st century.
That Lunenburg retains its charm and civic pride is truly remarkable. In the 1990s, the bountiful fishing banks off Nova Scotia’s Atlantic Coast were worked too hard, and whole fisheries disappeared. One by one, the seafaring towns along Canada’s Atlantic Coast lost their ancestral trade, and many lost their processing plants. Young folk moved West in search of prosperity.
But Lunenburg not only survived, it blossomed. The town is now filled with delightful country inns and small hotels, and a few choice restaurants line the old town’s narrow streets. But with more than two dozen art galleries and studios located within the old town, it’s the creative community that makes Lunenburg a truly special place. Attracted by the rugged beauty that surrounds them on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, a bevy of artists and artisans now call Lunenburg county home.
Every spring, it’s my privilege to update the web site for our friends at Peer Gallery, which sits at 167 Lincoln Street, just a hop, skip and a jump from where Kristina and I lived for three tumultuous years. And every year I find works of such breathtaking beauty and imagination that I count myself fortunate for playing a small role in helping them find a wider audience.
Enjoy! (And please join The Peer Gallery fan page on Facebook).