A native Nova Scotian, now living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I grew up on James Street in Dartmouth, where the architect of the Bluenose, W. J. Roue, lived at the top of our street, his drafting table facing the street. In the mid 1940’s I remember vividly, as a young boy, walking by and waving to him as he sat at his drafting table working on his various yacht designs.
Shortly after retirement in 2001, my wife and I purchased an idyllic waterfront property on Maders Cove (Mahone Bay), where I exercised my addiction to sailing for a dozen years. As fate would have it, those years happened to coincide with the annual Mahone Bay Wooden Boat Festival, when Captain Phil Watson and his Bluenose crew would anchor just off our dock during the time of the festival. The pictures of my sailboat at anchor in Maders Cove, with the Bluenose in the background, remain a treasure to this day.
Submitted (04/04/2021, Jim Cole)
I have written and now share for you a commemorative poem about the Bluenose:
LUNENBURG LADY commemorates an extraordinary historical presence that once graced the Grand Banks and the hearts and minds of every Nova Scotian. She was a dockside working girl, to be sure, and she carried herself with pride. First to market and first before all, her fame would become the pride of a young emerging nation. Other pretenders could only give her chase, try as they might with their lilywhite wings. Oh sorrowful day, when she finally went down to the sea.
Boys did you hear, of a glory told? Of a beauty on the sea?
Born of a mother with a broken mast, a queen of hearts to be.
So clean the lines, yet so full the holds, and masts that would skirt the sky,
And billowing wings to sail aloft, her plumbed so to lift and fly.
The work cold-hard, the souls all dear, a skipper famed for speed;
A carrying wind just shy of a gale, was all her wanted and needs.
Out to the Banks and the fishing grounds; first dories in, first done.
Then fly the catch home, fetch the higher price; bills paid to the very last one.
Well Gloucester beauties, with lilywhite sails, deep pockets craved the prize!
A fisher's race, a working girl's place; first challenged - and her did rise.
The skipper's hand, his eye, his nerve,
And his Bluenose takes to wing.
Oh wonderous sway, and clean the cut, loosed - her makes the heart sing.
Men lust for fame and the gold it pans; but sailors live for the tack.
And the scudding clouds of a rising wind that hurries the sailors back.
Moored now and still, her long trick's done, and her crew all safe and sound.
But gathering clouds of coal and steel, her sold - no thanks nor stay found.
Boys search your hearts, were they turned stone cold? Old codders, your tears don't hide!
Burning black oil for a trollop's toil, her once carried a nation's pride.
So far from home, the masts long gone, pray what's now become of she?
Oh sorrowful day off Baie les Cayes, broke, her went down to the sea.
So far from home, those masts long gone, pray what's now become of she?
Oh sorrowful day off Baie les Cayes, broke, her went down to the sea.
Broke, her went down to the sea.
Jim Davis 2021
Submitted (03/30/2021, Jim Davis)
I have a belaying pin from the original Bluenose.
In 1933, the Bluenose traversed the Welland Canal on its way to the Chicago Worlds Fair. My late father, who was 16 at the time lived in Port Colborne, Ontario which is home to lock #8 on the canal. The ship stayed in Port Colborne for a couple of days and was visited by hundreds of local citizens. My father was intrigued by the famous ship and wanted a souvenir to remember her with. He was able to 'borrow' a belaying pin from the starboard rail by placing his foot on the rail, slipping it up his pantleg and carefully walked away.
Submitted (03/29/2021, Michael Dimond)
In my teens I was lucky enough to be a member of Larry’s Dolphins Water Ski Club, a ski show group based out of Grand Lake. Every September we put on a ski show in Lunenburg Harbour as part of the Fisheries Exhibition. Usually we skied from a float attached to the RCMP boat, but one September (‘72 or ‘73) we actually skied from Bluenose II. Still one of my most memorable moments! Not many people can say they skied from the Bluenose...
Submitted (03/28/2021, Beth Cole)
In the early 1970's I was serving in the military in Halifax. I was born and raised in southern Ontario so Nova Scotia was a whole new experience for me and I became fascinated by the maritime history and spent many weekends in Lunenburg. One Sunday afternoon while walking around the waterfront I encountered an older gentleman and we struck up a conversation and the talk soon turned to the Bluenose. He was the one who told me the whole story including her sad end. I never did get the man's name and I'm sure he's probably gone now but later, when I started to do some song writing, the story he told me became the basis of a song I wrote called, "Daughter of the Sea". Today, over 50 years later that song is still very much part of my repertoire.
Also, at that time I got to attend the Fisheries Exhibition and Fishermen's Reunion in the company of a young lady I was seeing who the previous year had been crowned, I believe it was "Queen of the Sea" at that event. As part of the festivities she and that year's contestants were taken on a day cruise aboard the Bluenose II. I got to go along and I still remember the thrill of standing on the deck as we left the inner harbor.
Submitted (03/28/2021, Al Warden)
Growing up in Lunenburg, and coming from a fishing family, I have always known and loved the Bluenose.
When I was a little girl and Bluenose II was in port, I would go to the waterfront with my mom to see her. I was always so amazed at how beautiful she was, lit up at the wharf in her dress lights.
In music class as a child, the Bluenose song made me cry.
When I grew up, I got a job at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, researching the Bluenose.
It was through my research that I came to really know Bluenose and her crew. I poured over pages of written accounts and examined every photo. It felt like I knew them.
I had always dreamed of sailing Bluenose II, but feared as I was “small” my whole life, I wouldn’t be good at it and my dream would be crushed. At the same time, I knew if I didn’t try, I would always have that regret.
I went on to sail for three seasons as a deckhand on board Bluenose II. They were some of the best years of my life.
I proved to myself that I could do it and I’ve never been more proud.
Today, the Bluenose spirit still lives on.
Happy Bluenose Day
Submitted (03/26/2021, Devyn Kaizer)
I'm Elaine Cummings. --- My BLUENOSE story begins because both parents were Nova Scotian. My Mom ... Marjorie A. (Shoup-Heisler) Cummings ... was born in Lunenburg, NS (1907-2006). She was raised by an adoptive family that included my Uncle Tracy Knickle, once Lunenburg's Chief of Police. Tracy and Ada Knickle lived two hills up from the Front Harbor, I'm on the map guessing midway between BNII's berth and Battery Point. Back then, there was a railroad and no Bluenose Drive. My two uncles ... 'Offie' and 'Rollie' Naas ... helped build that first BLUENOSE: Offie in the shipyard and Rollie in the sail loft. ('Offie' was UNDER the hull to knock out the holding chocks and let her slide into the sea for that first launch!) My Dad was born and raised in Middleton, NS. They met when my Mom was a new school teacher there, married, and moved to the USA. My Dad went to work in NYC for the Royal Bank of Canada. I ended up being born in 1931 in Brooklyn, NY ... where one cannot BE more 'American!' I was raised "under two flags," know hockey and Horton's, can sing both national anthems! BLUENOSE is in my DNA. I grew up in NJ. When I was a tiny tot, we sailed Eastern Steamship Lines from NY-to-Yarmouth. That ended when enemy subs were seen in those waters and in the Bay of Fundy! Later, we drove up the coast for summer vacations in the Valley and South Shore. One summer, my Mom received a gift ... a model of BLUENOSE, built by Creighton Zinck, a local craftsman. I was nine years old when it rode home with us in the old Chevy, back to NJ. Since then, it has lived on with me in NJ, NYS, WA, now AZ. We're "two old girls" and still here ... I'm now 89. I could write my own book about the stories my Mom told us of Lunenburg ... of the huge Newfoundlander dogs that sailed on schooners and, when in port, headed to town for aa certain meat market for free bones! Friends were made and lost at sea, and the international schooner races of old were the big news. College and adult life took over and I never sailed on "our big girl." (Truth be told, I'm a lousy sailor ... I raised horses in my adult life!) These days, I visit NS Web-Cams and check in at White Point Beach where that 'cam' has sound and live action! I can sit here with my laptop and watch the tide roll in, hear waves crashing, see foam on the rollers coming in. It never gets old, not even here in the SW high desert. I'm about to push SUBMIT, in tears after reading the story (below) shared by Capt. Phil Watson. (How I wish health insurance could "clear customs" at the border!) Thanks for this chance to visit and read the stories of others. We're all "cousins," you know ... because of BNII. Stay safe, stay well, get vaccinated! --- Sending disinfected hugs and much love to all, Elaine and purrs from BOOTS and TUFFY, my cats.
Submitted (03/24/2021, Elaine Cummings)
It's a short story, my Dad, Otto Meisner, from East River, Nova Scotia, used to proudly tell everyone he was launched the same year as the original Bluenose in 1921, and in my opinion he was as great as the ship was!
Submitted (03/24/2021, Susan Meisner)
Hi, my name is Bill Chipman. My father who was born in 1914 in Lunenburg told me once that when he was young that the roads were so bad from Lunenburg to Halifax he and friends would hitch a ride to Halifax on the Bluenose. He said it was faster than driving. I also am the proud owner of the original ship's clock from the Bluenose, handed down to me from my father.
Submitted (03/16/2021, Bill Chipman)
My name is Jim Hern, I live in Scarborough, Ontario (the east end of Toronto), a block north of Lake Ontario and on top of the Scarborough Bluffs, a couple of hundred feet above the lake.
I have a great interest in the Bluenose and all things to do with the Olden Days of Sail. The days of "Wooden Ships and Men of Steel." The days of "A Hand for yourself and a Hand for the Ship."
I'm far from an expert (very far) but love it just the same.
My dad (probably as a teenager and young man) spent some time on sailing vessels owned by some of the last of the commercial fishing families out of Frenchman's Bay, just east of Scarborough. That would probably have been in the 40's and 50's.
Frenchman's Bay is a bay on Lake Ontario. The buildings on the east side of the bay were in the Village of Fairport and the west side just had farms on it until the 60's or early 70's. As Lunenburg is from the open Atlantic, Frenchman's Bay is a fair and safe port from Lake Ontario. This is where I got my love of all things to do with boats and boating.
The first time I went to Nova Scotia was 1972, I was 15 and I loved it. I will be 64 in May, and have been back there a couple of times - the last was in the 1990's and my wife and I spent a week in Lunenburg. We had our travel trailer at the municipal campground with a view over the harbour and Bluenose II was in her berth. Simply magical!
We took the tourist version of a sail on Bluenose ll. It was very special, more so because it was out of Lunenburg. I wish I could go for a sail with the crew only (especially if they were a bit behind schedule ha, ha).
On my last trip to Lunenburg I met a local fellow by the name of Hugh Corkum on a quiet Sunday morning. I went out to mail a postcard and ended up at his home for an hour or more. A wonderful time looking at his Bluenose memorabilia and hearing great stories.
Hugh's hobby (passion) was building Bluenose & Bluenose ll models. They were amazing to see. He had more than a casual connection to the days of the original Bluenose.
He took time away from his busy day (which he did not have to do) to give me one of the most memorable times of my life. Boy was my wife sorry she choose to sleep in rather than go to the post office that morning!
I try my best to see Bluenose ll whenever she visits Toronto or vicinity. It is always a joy for me to see any of the tall ships, but she is special.
As you celebrate the 100 anniversary of the launch of Bluenose, I wish Bluenose II, her Captain and Crew, both present and future, safe sailing for many decades to come. You carry on a very special tradition. Congratulations to you all on a job well done.
Take care, and safe sailing to all.
Submitted (03/14/2021, James (Jim) Hern)
First saw & visited Bluenose II at Expo 67, Montreal - of course I never imagined then, and it still amazes me, I'd move to Lunenburg & become directly involved 11 years later, for the next 14 years! Wonderful memories to say the least.
Submitted (03/14/2021, Pieter D Brown)
Like every Canadian I'm reminded of the Bluenose and her heritage each time I take out some change. Growing up on the South Shore seeing her namesake daughter in Lunenburg was always a familiar site. I'm proud of the legacy of the Bluenose as my great-grandfather Fred Rafuse was a crew member in 1937.
Submitted (03/13/2021, Sam Johnston)
Bluenose has always held a special, magical place in my heart. As a child of the prairies, I longed to be near, or even on, the ocean, and envied those who enjoyed that freedom. And later, as a singer-songwriter, I felt compelled to write a grand song about Bluenose in honour of her 100th anniversary. Here is a video of that song, with words and music by Michael Peters and Wayne Brown. Please feel free to share the link. Enjoy. https://youtu.be/X_RN3inJvkw
Submitted (03/11/2021, Michael Peters)
There is no Bluenose without Canada and there is no Canada without Bluenose! They called her the Witch in the Wind but she has bewitched millions of hearts as well. She is what new Canadians see and learn about holding the dimes in their hands. She is the spirit of our Maritime peoples. Her arrival on the Great Lakes in 2018 was a triumph beyond compare to each in everyone who came to the docks and boarded her decks with emotions challenging to describe.
Those who crew the Bluenose are an integral part of her lines, her masts and spars. They are the adults and youth who carry that bewitching sailing tradition affecting those who know and value the people of the sea,
Here's to Bluenose, to Captain Watson and his Crew, and to all those who make her fine and ready for the sea.
Aye, yours aye,
Marguerite Pyron for Broad Reach Foundation for Youth and Project Ships2Shores.
Submitted (03/08/2021, Marguerite Pyron)
I am so excited about Bluenose100. My Dad and I were at the launch of Bluenose II and have followed the news and the history of both ships. I have seen Bluenose II many times and, on my wall, you'll find two pictures I drew in pastels many years ago. One is the Bluenose that I sketched from a calendar page I found when visiting my Grandmother, and the second is Bluenose II when she was anchored off our home in Digby. My latest Bluenose project is a 4x8 foot mural of the Bluenose done in Schooner beer bottle caps that my folks and I collected over the past fifty years, which I hope to have completed in time for Bluenose 100 celebrations.
Submitted (03/08/2021, Silvana Redden)
My trip to Lunenberg didn’t have time for a sail on this lovely boat, but I got to stand on it and experience its energy at the dock. I have a picture of me by its anchor, one of my favourites of that trip. We are lucky to have history like this still alive to experience. Thank you to all that keep it going.
Submitted (03/05/2021, Barb Reimer)
As a Nova Scotian, I grew up knowing about the Bluenose and her legacy kept alive through the Bluenose II, but when I moved to the South Shore in the early ‘90’s, visiting Lunenburg to ‘see’ her in her homeport became a pilgrimage we’d make on a regular basis, especially in the summer. Enamoured with her and her majestic presence as the winds filled her sails, it wasn’t until I had the incredible opportunity in the 1990’s to step aboard while she was visiting Toronto as a part of an Atlantic Canada trade mission/promotion, I realized just how much she meant to me, and fellow Canadians.
With the CN Tower off in the distance, I meandered her decks under full sail on Lake Ontario as she danced across the water, I was in awe of simply ‘being’ aboard her. As a ‘Bluenoser’, my chest bursting with pride, was humbled and felt so privileged to be among the hosting team welcoming our Torontonian guests. While this was long before ‘selfies’, there were thousands of photos taken, keepsakes of memories I know were treasured by all.
In the years since, I’ve revisited her decks, visited her while being rebuilt at the Big Boat Shed and now having taken up sailing myself with my husband, can you believe that my mentor, teacher and now friend, is none other than Orval Banfield, a former Bluenose II Captain … pinch me!
Cheers to 100 years, and many more for our national sailing ambassador.
Submitted (02/04/2021, Donna Hatt)
To me, Bluenose is the tool we use to remember the period in Canadian history where east coast Canada really began to define itself. Bluenose represents the change from the “old days'' to “modern times”. In the early 1900’s there were hundreds of schooners, brigs and barques plying their trade along the coast and around the world. They still cut logs with horse and oxen and ran them down the rivers. As steam began to take over and the post war economy boomed the stories and lifestyle of man against nature faded. Fishing, due to the cheap labour and mystery of the sea, became the last bastion of these stories. By the time in 1946 that Bluenose was lost on Ile au Vache in Haiti, that way of life was gone.
Schooners the size of Bluenose don’t just appear. They require planning and infrastructure. To build a schooner you need trees and sawmills, blacksmiths and shipwrights, sail makers and riggers. Raw materials like coal for the forges, canvas for the sail, wire and rope for the rigging all have to be made locally or brought by ship or train. Ships require many trades to be built and then worked and maintained. Where does the fishing gear come from, who is making the dories and fish tubs, who is drying and shipping the cod? Bluenose as a Canadian icon represents all these stories.
The story of Bluenose encompasses all people — William Roué, Capt Angus and his crew are the guides that lead us to our stories. Not just the stories of a single town in a small province, stories belonging to everybody here in this land. There are stories of man against the sea, stories of communities working together, stories of Canadians adapting to increasingly quick changes in technology. We have stories of sportsmanship and striving to be the best of the best. Geography lessons, biology lessons, economic lessons, world history lessons. By looking through the lens of Capt. Walters telescope we can see the good and bad of a time of tremendous change in the world. Canada was finding her feet at this time and Canadians were trying to come to terms with an identity. Vimy Ridge was celebrated and mourned only four years previously. World War Two was fought while the schooner crews fought on the Grand Banks, convoys, enemy submarines, killer fog and monstrous waves all threatened Bluenose and the fleet. These stories and lessons are worth while studying today.
Our history is full of both tremendous victory and tremendous heartbreak, it is rich and varied and the lessons of work ethic, bravery, leadership are still valid today. The larger picture of Canada through two wars, a depression, boom and bust can all be told from the deck of a famous schooner and Capt Walters and his crew will be fine guides.
Submitted (01/20/2021, Captain Phil Watson)
I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba. When I was about 16 around the launch of Bluenose II in 1963 I received a book about Bluenose, at that age I was already in love with anything with a sail on it. I removed the cover from the book and had it blown up at a photo studio. It is now hanging on my wall at home. It's beautiful and I became totally fascinated with Bluenose. She has left a lasting impression on me all my life. I have spent many hours in the Fisheries Museum looking at the Bluenose exhibits. I love hearing stories of her racing and fishing accomplishments, and seeing the movie videos of her racing. She is truly a national treasure, a Canadian icon. Captain Angus Walters and Bluenose are truly historic parts of Nova Scotia and Canada acting as ambassador to the United States and England. The song “The Captain & The Queen“ by Dan Mckinnon says it all. Bluenose is truly one of the most wonderful parts of Nova Scotia and Canadian history.
When I heard about the rebuild of Bluenose II, I watched her being built from the day they laid the keel everyday on Nova Scotia Webcams. When they announced the re-launch date I was told that there were no rooms available in Lunenburg. I persisted and finally found one. I booked it and 15 minutes later I had a flight to Nova Scotia. There was no way I was going to miss the relaunch of Bluenose II. I had Bobby Mercer (cab driver) take me to Tim's and ordered coffee and donuts for all the work men at the drydock. It was something that Dave Carnes started during the rebuild. I walked down Montague Street to where the dry dock is, came over the hill and there she was. I was just totally taken back by the beauty and the size. It was so magnificent. I was given a tour of her while she was still in drydock before the relaunch and I just couldn’t believe the craftsmanship that I was seeing -- it was totally fascinating. Seeing her launched sent shivers up my spine. It was truly an inspirational occasion. I have been out on numerous 2-hour cruises and 3 Crew for a Day, each time has been such a memorable experience. The feeling of standing on her deck hearing the wind in her sails & being at the helm has been the thrill of my life. I have met many crew members over the years, they are all so knowledgeable & friendly and a true asset. Captain Watson is such a warm friendly person truly part of what Bluenose stands for.
I also had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Captain Wayne Angus Walters about his grandfather and also about Captain Wayne’s time as Captain of the Bluenose II, hearing about the history truly captivated me. I didn’t know a soul in Lunenburg but the people were so friendly and such a wonderful town it keeps me coming back to see Bluenose II every year I can. See you all at the BLUENOSE 100 celebration, I am already booked.
Submitted (01/20/2021, Dave Malby)