To the Acadians, it was Mirligueche. To the English, it became Lunenburg in honor of King George II, Duke of Brunschweig-Lunenburg. To the United Nations, it is a heritage treasure unlike any other. To citizens and their visitors, it remains a fascinating blend of history and real life, a living monument to what was, and what will be.
Colonial Lunenburg sprang from the quill and imagination of Charles Morris, who as Surveyor General for the British Empire had planned many towns in the orderly gridiron that smoothly linked harbour to hills, commerce to culture. From this pattern of aligned streets embracing the parks, grounds and buildings used by all in the Town evolved a centre of Nova Scotia power second only to Halifax in its political power and population.
Nestled between Lunenburg "Front" and "Back" Harbours, on a steep hillside facing south, Lunenburg is admired by many a visitor. Lunenburg is a quick 92 km or 57 miles southwest from the Provincial capital, Halifax.
Lunenburg has small town character, yet has easy access to Halifax and South Shore markets, links with the Annapolis Valley, the New England States, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
The Town of Lunenburg, in Nova Scotia, Canada, was formally established in 1753 as the first British Colonial settlement in Nova Scotia outside of Halifax. These early settlers were from various parts of Germany, Switzerland, and the Montbeliard region of France. They followed in the footsteps of earlier Mikmaq and Acadian inhabitants in the area.
A vibrant and stable economy was built on farming, fishing, ship building and ocean-based commerce, particularly in the West Indies trade. More than 200 years in fishing, ship-building and marine related industries has provided Lunenburg with a strong economic base.
A view from Lunenburg's beautiful waterfront today will take in many of these established marine industries. Among these are: High Liner Foods Inc., one of the largest fish processing plants in North America; Lunenburg Industrial Foundry and Engineering Ltd., founded in 1891; Scotia Trawler; Adams and Knickle; Deep Sea Trawlers; ABCO Industries Ltd., founded in 1947; and the Lunenburg Marine Railway, one of the largest marine railway complexes in Nova Scotia.
A diversified economy based on the fisheries, tourism and manufacturing has become firmly entrenched in Lunenburg. The Town of Lunenburg's 250th anniversary in 2003 is a testament to this.
The town visitors many architectural delights. Houses, businesses, churches and public buildings from the late 1700s and particularly early 1800s are still being used today. The town's German heritage has been maintained and promoted and the history of the fishing industry has been captured in the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.
In 1992, the Government of Canada designated "Old Town" Lunenburg as a National Historic District. In 1995, the World Heritage Committee, under the auspices of UNESCO, recognized Lunenburg's cultural and natural heritage by adding it to their World Heritage List.
Old Town Lunenburg has been designated by the Government of Canada as a place of National Historic Significance. Lunenburg is part of the family of National Historic Sites, one of more than 800 places across Canada which help define the important aspects of Canada's diverse heritage and identity.
Due to its strong Maritime culture, Lunenburg has retained close ties with fellow Maritimers in the New England states, such as Gloucester, Massachusetts. Lunenburg's rich German heritage has also made it a popular destination for European visitors.