While the sweat and toil of the fishery took place at sea and on the docks along the waterfront, the cogs that made the industry work turned along this street. Named for a British military man, Montague Street did its share in making Lunenburg’s economy the envy of the country. Look up and down this streetscape and, for just a moment, forget the ice cream shops, restaurants and art galleries. Imagine a team of oxen – those powerful reliable engines of movement – hauling barrels, sails, dories, salt, dried cod, iron fittings, and whatever else was demanded, along muddy routes. Shift your mind’s eye a little later in time and see a fine car (perhaps a Model A or Model T) bringing one of the fish company barons - those men made rich from the smell of fish – to work in their waterfront offices. All along the street, the fabric of the fishing industry -- sail makers, coopers, black smith shops, block makers, ships’ outfitters – came together to support this incredible economy. The tall deep red building, across the street to the left, now fragrant with baking waffle cones, once smelled of the sweet scent of the tropical woods from which the rigging blocks were formed. To the far right, at the top of the rise, the old ship’s smithy, once pungent with burning coal and molten iron, now emits the odor of distilling spirits. All along the street the scene is repeated as the past comes alive in the buildings that still stand tall as reminders of a different time.
The yellow building to the right is the small craft centre for NorseBoat, a company that opened in Lunenburg in 2008. Here they carry on a traditional style of boatbuilding producing a line they refer to as The Swiss Army Knife of boats: high quality sailing and rowing boats small enough for transport on a trailer.
Look up, along the telephone poles. What is that? A fish? Yes, in fact, many fish. For along several streets in our town, a collection of specially forged and created hangings depict the species of ground and shell fish harvested in our waters. Look for the small signs on the poles, which tell you the kind of fish is being displayed, and you’ll get a combined lesson in art and biology all at once.