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Lunenburg’s Big Boat Shed receives $1.5M in federal, provincial funding


Federal and provincial governments are working together to restore one of Lunenburg’s boat building cathedrals.

A combined $1.5 million was announced to repair and expand the Big Boat Shed, which was the main boat building facility for the renowned Smith & Rhuland Shipyards.

More than 270 ships — including Bluenose II, the Bounty and the Rose — were constructed at the site.

Develop Nova Scotia CEO Jennifer Angel said the investment would preserve and build upon Lunenburg’s historic waterfront.

“It’s a really important place for many of Lunenburg’s shipbuilding stories and we are now making it a place that can continue to be a place for shipbuilding for many years to come,” she said.

Once restored, the building will again be home to traditional boat building.

Angel added that the renovations will include a new viewing deck and interpretive area for the public.

“It’s an example of how the working waterfront with the neighbouring lower shipyard, very much a marine-industrial space, can be married with the visitor access,” she said.

Angel noted the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic would also use the new space for programming and to teach traditional boat building skills.

South Shore-St. Margaret’s MP Bernadette Jordan was on hand to announce the federal governments $500,000 contribution through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

“I think it’s a really great project. Part of our past but definitely part of our future,” she said of the building.

The province contributed $1 million, with $750,000 coming from Tourism Nova Scotia.

Peter Bigelow, the director of planning and development for Develop Nova Scotia, said the design phase will take between four to six months.

The whole project is expected to be done by the summer of 2021.

He said the first steps in the project are to stabilize the building and reconstructing the floor and slipway.

“We want to have the industrial heritage boat building in there by this summer,” he said.

The Smith & Rhuland Shipyards originally opened in 1900.

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