As you walk forward from here, you are entering what is arguably the most notable of Lunenburg’s waterfront addresses. The Smith and Rhuland Shipyard was far from the first builder of boats, but definitely the most famous. Here, from 1900 to 1967, hundreds of ships, small and large, splashed into action, the warriors of the water-based economy. Richard Smith and George Rhuland had apprenticed at other Lunenburg ship yards before pursuing their own vision: to bring versatility, skill, and quality to their industry. And it was the quality of the ships crafted here that brought their clients from far beyond the town to have their dreams defined in wood. In her heyday, at the height of the Grand Banks fishery, Smith and Rhuland employed 50 full-time shipwrights and produced eight schooners a year. Diversification has meant vessels of every description finding life here: schooners of course, and trawlers, freighters, naval boats, pleasure craft and, yes, even rum runners. Amongst the most famous of her fleet: Bluenose, Bluenose II, replica HMS Bounty -- built for the movie Mutiny on the Bounty -- and the HMS Rose, a ship which appeared as the HMS Surprise in Master and Commander starring Russell Crowe .
As the demand for wooden ships waned, Smith and Rhuland turned its sights to repair and restoration work and trained a new generation of ship builders. Sold in the mid 1970, the yards have seen a series of owners.
The red building with the unusual roof is known as The Bluenose Shed and was the site of the building of Bluenose II. Further to the left, the Marine Railway, owned by the Lunenburg Industrial Foundry and Engineering firm, has been an integral part of this area’s ship-building and repair facilities since 1898. With a cradle that moves down into the harbour, the structure provides an essential service needed to launch the vessels created on this site.
Through 2011 and 12 the Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance – a partnership bringing together Covey Island Boatworks, Lunenburg Industrial Foundry and Engineering, and Snyder’s Shipyard – worked on this site to accomplish one of the most significant projects ever undertaken on this waterfront – the rebuilding of Bluenose II.
In the area beyond the Marine Railway, many pleasure boats find safe winter storage. At the far Eastern end of the harbour is Rous Brook, the place where it all began. Before the first schooner ever set sail from this port or a single ship was launched, the setters -- known as The Foreign Protestants – landed right here and began the legacy that has become Lunenburg.