Atlantic Canada: Lively Lunenburg

Brightly coloured houses in Lunenburg

The small town of Lunenburg in coastal Nova Scotia is bright, colourful, lively and lovely. And of special value to the common heritage of humanity. Old Town Lunenburg was added to the World Heritage list in 1995 as the best surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America. Or, as UNESCO puts it:

Lunenburg is a remarkably well-preserved town, and one which retains most of the qualities of the original British model colonial settlement, without losing its status as a fully functioning community in the modern world.

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada

Lunenburg waterfront

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada

Lunenburg – “somewhere on the East Coast of Canada”

In the centre of Lunenburg, we discovered a memorial to Camp Norway, a Norwegian navy training field during World War II. In the northern spring of 1940, more than 100 ships were on their way home from whaling season in Antarctica. Meanwhile, war had broken out and rather than go home to German-occupied Norway right away, the whalers stopped in Nova Scotia where they received military training before setting off as gunners on Norwegian and allied ships. Everything was top secret, and Lunenburg was never mentioned publicly, just referred to as “somewhere on the East Coast of Canada”.

Norwegian World War II memorial, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada

We drove into Lunenburg late one evening after having crossed the Bay of Fundy from New Brunswick, then gone through the slightly mysterious Kejimkujik National Park. Stopping on impulse, we found an inn, rang the door bell at 10 pm and was given a beautiful, split level suite at a reasonable price. That’s the kind of place Lunenburg is.

Next morning, we discovered we had wonderful harbour views to boot.

Lunenburg harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada
Lunenburg harbour

We really liked Lunenburg. There were horse-drawn carriages even. Can’t go wrong with girls and horses, can you….

Lunenburg harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada

Atlantic Canada, we’ll be back.

This post is part of PhotoFriday, Friday Daydreamin’, and Travel Photo Thursday. The latter is an ever-expanding weekly series showcasing fab travel photos from around the world, hosted by Nancie who happens to be a Nova Scotian.

 
unesco logo

Old Town Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Here are more UNESCO World Heritage sites around the world.
 
 

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72 Responses to “Atlantic Canada: Lively Lunenburg”

  1. Denise 31 May 2012 0132 #

    I always feel that most places lack colour, so this place looks really fun and pretty!
    Denise recently posted..The Ecstacy of a Wonderful Meal: Can Tho and the Victoria Can Tho resort

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 31 May 2012 2255 #

      True, too much drab in the world.

  2. Krista 31 May 2012 0211 #

    I was just in Lunenburg myself – a small town with a lot to do, see, eat, and drink!
    Krista recently posted..Guest post: My travels from A to Z by Jill of Couchtime with Jill

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 31 May 2012 2256 #

      …and surprises around every corner.

  3. Lisa 31 May 2012 0252 #

    We visited Lunenburg on a day trip from Halifax and loved it! The horse and carriage ride was a big hit with my girls as well! Was the Bluenose schooner in the harbour when you visited?
    Lisa recently posted..Searching for Tulips in Ottawa

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 31 May 2012 2258 #

      She was there, the beauty. But the sails weren’t up.

  4. Linda 31 May 2012 0313 #

    Some years back, on the Travel Channel there was a program called Tall Ship Chronicles, which anyone with wanderlust would love. Paying to work on a tall ship as it sails around the world! The ship’s home port was Lunenburg, and I’ve been longing to go there ever since! Now you made me want to go even more!!
    Linda recently posted..In Celebration of El Día de Canarias

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 31 May 2012 2304 #

      Thanks. And a very cool idea working on a sail ship. A few Norwegian tall ships offers that as well, the Christan Radich of Oslo among them. You can join up to sail a certain leg of the yearly tall ships races. Would be such fun.

  5. Jenna 31 May 2012 0437 #

    The colors seem to add so much to this town! The part about the Norwegians is interesting–I wonder if some of them just stayed there…?

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 31 May 2012 2305 #

      I looked into that and it appears some of them might have. At least, a few are buried in Lunenburg and another few in Halifax.

  6. Leigh 31 May 2012 0618 #

    I’ve lived in Nova Scotia on two different occasions – and both times Lunenburg was one of my favourite places to visit. In fact that’s were my husband and I had many a great meal in our dating phase. We both worked as geologists in Nova Scotia and had a pretty sweet deal – vehicles at our disposal and money given to us for meals.Nothing but good memories from Lunenburg.
    Leigh recently posted..Photos from Hiking the Heather Trail, Manning Provincial Park

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 31 May 2012 2306 #

      How wonderful to have such happy memories of a very special town :)

  7. ItalianNotes 31 May 2012 1057 #

    Looks like a nice place, although the house colours seem so bright I’d have to wear shades in winter
    ItalianNotes recently posted..Best beach breaks in Puglia

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 31 May 2012 2307 #

      Reminds me a little bit of some of the islands in Venice lagoon, though the colours there are perhaps a few shades softer…

  8. InsideJourneys 31 May 2012 1343 #

    Maybe it’s the color that fooled me but I’d never have pegged this as a ‘planned British colonial settlement.” It’s really picturesque, and the residents are warm and accommodating. Nice find, Sophie!
    InsideJourneys recently posted..#TPThursday: Crackling Pig Roast

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 31 May 2012 2308 #

      No, it seems like it should be Italian or something, rather than British.

  9. Sabrina 31 May 2012 1432 #

    What a place! Makes you feel transported back in time, doesn’t it? Love the colorful houses.
    Sabrina recently posted..Italian Cemetery in Monte San Vito

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 31 May 2012 2309 #

      You’re right – I did get a sense of being in the early 1900s there.

  10. Ana (Ana Travels) 31 May 2012 1437 #

    I absolutely adored this place (or your photos, at any rate). Nova Scotia is definitely on my list, thanks for sharing a part of it.

    BTW, reading about the whaling season in Antarctica reminded me of a photo of my paternal grandfather standing in front of a whale cut in half on board a whaling ship, in the 1940s, I think. He worked as an electrician on board the ship.
    Ana (Ana Travels) recently posted..Interesting things to do for free in Buenos Aires

    • Ana (Ana Travels) 31 May 2012 1440 #

      It wasn’t a whaling ship, I was wrong. Anyway, it sailed under the Argentinean flag but the crew was Norwegian :)
      Ana (Ana Travels) recently posted..Interesting things to do for free in Buenos Aires

      • Anne-Sophie Redisch 31 May 2012 2312 #

        That’s very interesting, Ana. Your grandfather was Argentinian, no? And worked with Norwegian sailors on a Norwegian (?) ship sailing under the Argentine flag? Would love to hear the story there.

        • Ana (Ana Travels) 3 June 2012 1807 #

          I called him after posting my comment to check the facts. He’s Argentinean and worked in the Merchant Navy as an electrician. He said the crew was Norwegian, or most of the crew, at any rate, and the ship’s flag was Argentinean.
          Ana (Ana Travels) recently posted..Interesting things to do for free in Buenos Aires

  11. Jackie Smith 31 May 2012 1635 #

    What a fabulous find. Love the colors. This goes on the travel bucket list, for sure!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 31 May 2012 2312 #

      Fabulous, colourful place, indeed.

  12. Cathy Sweeney 31 May 2012 1954 #

    Wow! Those colorful buildings really jumped out at me. What a cool town. The memorial to Camp Norway is very interesting, too.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..An Afternoon with George in Alexandria, Virginia

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 31 May 2012 2313 #

      Atlantic Canada is full of cool places.

  13. jade 31 May 2012 2001 #

    Ah, love brightly colored houses. I always envisioned my future home being the super bright house at the end of the block! Maybe I should move to Atlantic Canada and I’d fit right in!
    jade recently posted..Our 2 Year RTW Travel Anniversary

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 31 May 2012 2315 #

      You’d have a choice of brightly colours,too :)

  14. Wandergirl 31 May 2012 2004 #

    I love Atlantic Canada! I think I was about 13 when my parents took me to Nova Scotia and I remember so clearly the colours of Lunenberg, the smell, and the amazing scallops I had. Have to go back!
    Wandergirl recently posted..The details: Portugal Lua de Mel 2011

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 31 May 2012 2316 #

      Oh yes, the scallops. And the lobster. Nom nom!

  15. Annelise 31 May 2012 2118 #

    I love those coloured houses so much! I wish I could have the chance to live at a place like that. Amazing. And breathtaking. I’ve always wondered what kind of people could live in these cottages.
    Annelise recently posted..Meine neue Arbeitsstelle

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 1 June 2012 1333 #

      I think many of them house shops, galleries and restaurants.

  16. Christy @ Technosyncratic 1 June 2012 0250 #

    I know some people think brightly-colored houses are garish, but I so don’t agree. Okay, maybe bubble-gum pink. I’d love a purple or blue house, though!
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Thien Cung Grotto: the Gaudiest Limestone Cave in Vietnam

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 1 June 2012 1334 #

      I like them, too. But I think I would probably prefer my own house to be just a bit more subdued.

  17. Michael Figueiredo 1 June 2012 0348 #

    What a charming town! I’d love to visit Lunenburg. I love all of the colors. :)
    Michael Figueiredo recently posted..Offbeat Travel: Bubble Gum Alley

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 1 June 2012 1334 #

      :)

  18. Dick Jordan 1 June 2012 0544 #

    What a vibrant palette of house paints!
    Dick Jordan recently posted..A Photographic Remembrance of D-Day

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 1 June 2012 1335 #

      Well said.

  19. Laurel 1 June 2012 1203 #

    I’m Canadian and I’ve never heard of Lunenburg, but it looks very charming – the kind of place I like.
    Laurel recently posted..Drakensberg: A Photojourney to S. Africa’s Highest Mountain Range

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 1 June 2012 1336 #

      Goes to show how absolutely huge Canada is :)

  20. Bob R 1 June 2012 1302 #

    Any idea how the whalers turned gunners fared?
    Bob R recently posted..Unintentional Triptych

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 1 June 2012 1353 #

      Apparently, of the Norwegian sailors who left Nova Scotia, many never came to land again. Some were recovered from the sea and buried in Nova Scotia, others died in Lunenburg or Halifax. There are about 30 Norwegian war graves in the province, so not very many, but it’s an interesting bit of Norwegian – Canadian shared war time history.

      • Bob R 1 June 2012 1512 #

        Thanks. Yes it is a very interesting historical footnote. Somewhere in the history of those 100 or so whaling ships is a very good novel or screenplay. Or non-fiction reportage a la Perfect Storm.
        Bob R recently posted..Unintentional Triptych

  21. Becca@R We There Yet Mom? 1 June 2012 1559 #

    I Love the colors of all the homes & buildings – just like I would picture an Atlantic Coastal town. So pretty!

    Thanks for linking up this week! Have a super weekend!
    Becca@R We There Yet Mom? recently posted..Friday Daydreamin': SPLASH

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 June 2012 0120 #

      Of course :) And you too.

  22. Lisa 1 June 2012 1732 #

    Sophie, I love the quaint feel of the town, that view from your inn was quite sweet. I enjoyed New Brunswick and Grand Manan, but haven’t experienced anything else up that way.
    Lisa recently posted..Hundertwasser Bahnhof in Uelzen, Germany

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 June 2012 0121 #

      New Brunswick was nice, too. We liked Shediac and the Big Lobster.

  23. Steve 1 June 2012 2134 #

    Should they really be letting the horse eat the mail?
    Very cute town. I’d guess there’s some good fish n’ chips to be found here somewhere.
    Steve recently posted..My Kids Plans for Their Frequent Flyer Miles

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 June 2012 0124 #

      There was an old-fashioned American diner – very quaint, a big hit with my kids. But can’t remember any chip shops. There was a tea place, though.

  24. Nancie 1 June 2012 2305 #

    I know Lunenburg well, and your shots are gorgeous. My parents grew up in a village “just up the road”. When I was a kid we would go and visit, and of course, no modern highway (not that the highway is that great even today!)…and my favorite part of the trip was going up “Wake Up Hill”, not far from Lunenburg.

    The Bluenose schooner is the ship you see on the Canadian dime. I believe she is being rebuilt at the moment.
    Nancie recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday — May 30th, 2012 — Amazing Critters I’ve Encountered On My Travels

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 June 2012 0125 #

      On money, eh? Important national landmark, then.

  25. Ruth (Tanama Tales) 2 June 2012 0207 #

    The colors are amazing. This is the type of places I love to visit. History is in every corner.
    Ruth (Tanama Tales) recently posted..An Orange Sea in the Middle of the Mojave Desert

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 June 2012 1345 #

      You certainly get plenty of colours and history in Lunenburg :)

  26. Sonja 2 June 2012 0211 #

    I want the green house.
    Sonja recently posted..Photo Friday: No Speeding

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 June 2012 1343 #

      I think I would go for the blue one, myself :)

  27. Jeremy Branham 2 June 2012 0251 #

    Great story on Lunenburg. A unheard of story from WWII. Looks like a beautiful town as well with fantastic colors! I admit I don’t know much about the east coast of Canada but I never would have expected this place to play a role in WWII.
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..A taste of Paris, Lebanon, and why you should eat at McDonalds when traveling

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 June 2012 1346 #

      I had no idea it did, either. Made the town even more interesting.

  28. I love these pictures and learning about a charming town in Atlantic Canada. These are such vibrant colors on the houses they reminded me of Burano island in Italy. You definitely can’t get lost looking for that bright green building. We would love to explore that part of Canada soon.
    Mary @ The World Is A Book recently posted..Strolling Solvang: Danish Capital of America

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 June 2012 1344 #

      You’re right, it does remind one of Burano a little.

  29. Christina (Jandal Road) 4 June 2012 2234 #

    Very cool place. This side of Canada is a place I have yet to discover. The colourful houses look so inviting!
    Christina (Jandal Road) recently posted..Adventures in British Columbia: Ziplining on Grouse Mountain

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 25 June 2012 1319 #

      I’m the opposite; only know Eastern Canada :)

  30. Andrea 5 June 2012 0749 #

    So colourful! It’s kind of reminding me of Stavanger
    Andrea recently posted..Posture and Ergonomics for Digital Nomads

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 25 June 2012 1320 #

      It does a little, I know the area of Stavanger you mean.

  31. Ayngelina 6 June 2012 0723 #

    In Toronto I told someone I was from Nova Scotia and they said “oh where they have all the different colour houses” and I realized in Ontario everything was beige – so I guess yes we are the province with the houses of different colours.
    Ayngelina recently posted..Have you met Bruce?

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 25 June 2012 1324 #

      In some areas in Northern Norway, houses are painted in very bright, even unusual, colours. I’ve been told that since the weather is so harsh they have to repaint often and it’s easier to experiment with colours more. If you don’t like it, you have to do it over again next year anyway. Maybe the same is true for Nova Scotia…

  32. Joe 9 June 2012 1713 #

    My, what a lovely place. And so colourful, like out of a story book.
    Joe recently posted..A tribute to mother

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 25 June 2012 1331 #

      Thanks for stopping by, Joe.

  33. Cute! I love the little towns on the east coast!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 25 June 2012 1334 #

      Very cute :)

  34. Mary @ Green Global Travel 27 July 2012 1835 #

    Love the bright colored buildings. They make the town seem very cheery.
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..DOMINICA Photo Gallery 4- Cabrits National Park & Indian River

  35. nomadic translator 7 November 2012 1947 #

    how colorful! I wonder how one would get to Nova Scotia… Sounds like it could be expensive. Do you happen to know if flights from big cities in Canada, such as Montréal and Toronto, a reasonable?
    nomadic translator recently posted..Anticuchos de corazón recipe (beef heart skewers) and their history

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 7 November 2012 2141 #

      We flew from Europe – and Icelandair had very reasonable flights via Reykjavik. I’m afraid I don’t know much about prices internally in Canada; I remember a friend of mine flew Toronto – Halifax with WestJet for 99 CAD, but that’s almost two years ago. More interestingly, I think there’s an overnight train going from Montreal to Halifax. Would be an interesting journey, I’m sure.

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