It will be 100 years down to the hour when the celebrations begin, marking the 100th anniversary since the launch of Canada’s most iconic sailing vessel, the Bluenose.
It was 10 a.m. on March 26, 1921, when the schooner, designed by William J. Roué and built by the Smith & Rhuland Shipyard, slipped into the waters of Lunenburg harbour for the first time. Built for fishing and racing in the North Atlantic, the Bluenose earned the nickname Queen of the North Atlantic Fishing Fleet and became a racing legend for the International Fishermen’s Cup against its American rivals.
The Bluenose 100th anniversary celebrations will start at 10 a.m. on March 26 with the first of numerous livestream events planned to mark the centennial, said Alan Creaser, Chair of the Bluenose 100 Committee in an interview.
The first livestream event launching Bluenose 100 celebrations will be a formal affair, said Creaser, featuring interviews, videos and stories, remarks from leaders and historical footage, while at 7 p.m. that evening, local musicians, performers and storytellers will come together to present a livestream celebration.
Creaser said weekly livestreams will be held throughout the year as part of the celebrations, all available through the Bluenose 100 website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.
“In conjunction with this, there will be a refreshed Bluenose exhibit at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic” in Lunenburg, said Creaser.
“The museum has probably the largest collection of Bluenose memorabilia in the world. There’s going to be a display of new artifacts, some never seen before. They’ve dug into their archives. All kinds of artifacts on the Bluenose will be on display.”
Creaser said the museum will also “have special programming around the stories of the Bluenose. They have an interpretive staff that do a very good job of telling the story with a passion and from the heart when they talk about the Bluenose.”
Just in time for the centennial celebrations was the completion of the Big Boat Shed project on the Lunenburg waterfront earlier this year. The project was announced in 2019 and included the restoration and expansion of the Big Boat Shed, the main boat building facility for the famous Smith & Rhuland Shipyards.
The space will be part of the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic’s programming starting this summer when as part of the Bluenose 100 celebrations a collection of L.B. Jensen drawings of Bluenose will be on display.
“He did very detailed drawings of the ship,” said Creaser. “They are kind of like a bible on the Bluenose.”
The Bluenose 100 Committee was initially formed over a year ago by the Lunenburg Marine Museum Society (LMMS) who operate the Fisheries Museum and Bluenose II. “As a result of where we are in the pandemic, plans changed from what we had hoped to do this summer,” said Creaser. “We’ve been working on this for a while” with both national partners including the Royal Canadian Mint and Canada Post, and with community groups.
“We have a number of community groups who will be having their festivals and events this summer and there will be a Bluenose flavour to it,” said Creaser.
The Royal Canadian Mint has already launched a special set of collector coins to commemorate the Bluenose. Canada Post is set to launch new stamps to mark the anniversary as well.
As for Bluenose II, the replica schooner “will be sailing around the province much like it did last summer,” said Creaser. “Last year the ship got into places where it hadn’t gotten into in its lifetime.”
Due to COVID-19, Bluenose II will not be dockside at any ports of call during the Sail Past Summer season, nor will there be any access to the ship or harbour cruises. The same rules applied last year but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the communities where Bluenose dropped anchor.
“From a boating perspective, people came out in their boats to see the ship and greet the ship. It was very successful,” said Creaser. “From that point of view, it gave people something to do, to take their minds off what’s been going on… it was like giving the ship back to the province. It was very well received last year.”
The Bluenose II sailing schedule is online and includes ports of call in both New Brunswick and P.E.I. as well as throughout Nova Scotia.
Further information on the Bluenose 100 celebrations is available on social media or the website bluenose100.ca.