A ship that’s synonymous with Nova Scotia and recognized the world over, the original Bluenose schooner went from humble beginnings as a fishing vessel to a renowned racing champion. Though the ship ran aground in Haiti in 1946, its legacy endured in the hearts of Canadians, and plans to construct a replica came to life in 1963. Here are seven interesting facts about Nova Scotia’s sailing ambassador—the Bluenose II.
It was Built by the Same Hands as the Bluenose
The Bluenose II was built in the same Lunenburg shipyard as its predecessor. Constructed at Smith and Rhuland Shipyard using designer William Roué’s original plans, many of the same craftspeople who helped build the original Bluenose used their skill and expertise to construct the Bluenose II. The original ship’s captain, Angus J. Walters, also consulted on the design and sailed on the new ship’s maiden voyage.
It had Some Interesting Owners
The construction of the Bluenose II was financed by the Oland Brewery to promote its products, most notably Schooner beer. The Oland family also used the vessel as a private yacht before selling it to the Province of Nova Scotia in 1971.
The Price tag was a lot Less Than You Might Think
How much did the Nova Scotia Government pay the Oland family for the iconic ship? A whopping $1, or ten Bluenose-emblazoned dimes.
The Ship’s Dining Table has Unique Origins
When the crew sit down for a meal on the Bluenose II, they gather around a table made from wood and stone collected from every province and territory, enhancing the ship’s role as Canada’s sailing ambassador.
Elements of the Original Bluenose Remain
The towering masts of the original Bluenose still sail today, plus the rigging and sails, deck housings, and walnut and mahogany cabin trim. In the keel of the Bluenose II, 18 tonnes of lead ingots from the racing schooner act as ballast.
The New Bluenose II Contains Global Influences
During the most recent rebuild, tropical woods were incorporated that naturally resist rot and decay. This latest version of the hull is constructed with angelique from Suriname in South America. Angelique and iroko from West Africa were also used for the ribs and deck beams. These woods were so hard that the shipyard went through $10,000 worth of band saw blades to cut them!
A Piece of the Ship Lives in a Guitar
In 2004, the Bluenose Preservation Trust donated a piece of the decking to the Six String Nation project—a guitar constructed using materials from every Canadian province and territory (not unlike the Bluenose II’s dining table). A symbol of national unity and Canadian exploration identity, it was an easy choice to contribute a piece of Nova Scotia’s iconic ship to this unique instrument that’s been played by dozens of notable Canadian musicians.