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Stamp Canada 1929 50c Bluenose.jpg
Bluenose postage stamp of 1929
Name: Bluenose
Port of registry: Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Builder: Smith and Rhuland
Launched: March 26, 1921
Fate: Sold out-of-country in 1942 to become a tramp schooner in the Caribbean
Status: Shipwreck
West Indies
Name: Bluenose
Acquired: 1942
Fate: On January 28, 1946 she foundered on a reef off the coast of Haiti and sank
Status: Shipwreck
General characteristics
Displacement: 258 tonnes (284 short tons)
  • 49 m (160 ft 9 in) o/a
  • 34 m (111 ft 7 in) lwl
Beam: 8 m (26 ft 3 in)
Draft: 5 m (16 ft 5 in)
Propulsion: Sails
Mainmast, height from deck 38 m (124 ft 8 in)
Foremast, height from deck 36 m (118 ft 1 in)
Sail area 1,036 m2 (11,150 sq ft)
Mainsail area 386 m2 (4,150 sq ft)
Crew: 6 Officers, Chief Cook, 15 Deckhands

Bluenose was a Canadian fishing and racing schooner from Nova Scotia built in 1921. A celebrated racing ship and fishing vessel, Bluenose under the command of Angus Walters became a provincial icon for Nova Scotia and an important Canadian symbol in the 1930s. She was later commemorated by a replica Bluenose II built in 1963; leaking and worn out, she was dismantled in 2010, and rebuilt in the same shipyard as its ancestors in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and launched in 2013.[1] The name "bluenose" originated as a nickname for Nova Scotians from as early as the late 18th century.[2]


Part of a series on the
History of Nova Scotia
The Famous Bluenose (Restored).jpg
Port Royal established 1605
Conquest of Acadia 1710
Halifax established 1749
Bay of Fundy Campaign 1755
Fall of Louisbourg 1758
Representative Government established 1758
Burying the Hatchet ceremony 1761
First significant Scottish immigration 1773
Battle of Fort Cumberland 1776
Birchtown established 1783
Capture of USS Chesapeake 1813
Freedom of the Press 1835
First Acadian MLA elected 1837
Responsible Government established 1848
‪Chesapeake Affair 1861
Co Op Movement begins 1861
‪Anti-Confederation Party elected 1867
Saxby Gale 1869
Launch of William D. Lawrence 1873
First airplane in the British Commonwealth 1909
Halifax Explosion 1917
Nova Scotia [Women’s] Franchise Act 1918
Launch of Bluenose 1922
Coal Miners' Memorial Day 1925
Pugwash Conferences established 1957
Springhill mining disaster 1958
NS Human Rights Commission established 1967
Acadian Federation of Nova Scotia established 1968
First 'Treaty Day' 1986
Westray Mine explosion 1992
First Black MLA elected 1993
Mi'kmaq-Nova Scotia-Canada Tripartite Forum 1997
Viola Desmond Apology 2010

The Bluenose was designed by William Roué and built by Smith and Rhuland, Bluenose was launched in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia on March 26, 1921, and christened by Audrey Marie Smith. She was built to be a racing ship and fishing vessel, in response to the defeat of the Nova Scotian Fishing Schooner Delawana by the Gloucester, Massachusetts fishing schooner Esperanto in 1920, in a race sponsored by the Halifax Herald newspaper.

File:Bluenose vs. Gertrude L. Thebaud, Wallace R. MacAskill, 26 October, 1938.webm
Bluenose vs. Gertrude L. Thebaud, International Fishermen's Trophy, 1938, final race

After a season fishing on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland under the command of Angus Walters, Bluenose defeated Elsie (out of Gloucester), returning the International Fishermen's Trophy to Nova Scotia. In 1930, off Gloucester, Massachusetts, she was defeated 2–0 in the inaugural Sir Thomas Lipton International Fishing Challenge Cup by perhaps her most celebrated competitor, the Gertrude L. Thebaud.[3] However, over the next 7 years of racing, no challenger, American or Canadian, could take the title from her.[4]

She was no mere racing ship, but also a general fishing craft that was worked hard throughout her lifetime. She fished cod and other kinds of groundfish, and at least once won competitions for largest catches of the season and similar awards.

Fishing schooners became obsolete during the 1930s, displaced by motor schooners and trawlers. Despite efforts to keep her in Nova Scotia led by Capt. Walters, Bluenose was sold to work as a freighter in the West Indies. Laden with bananas, she struck a coral reef off Île à Vache, Haiti on January 28, 1946. Wrecked beyond repair, with no loss of life, she was abandoned on the reef.

Various divers and film makers have claimed to have found the wreck of Bluenose, most recently in June 2005 by divers from the Caribbean Marine Institute searching for Henry Morgan's ship HMS Oxford. However the large number of wrecks on the reef at Île à Vache and the scattered condition of the wreckage has made identification difficult.


Bluenose's captain and part owner for most of her fishing and racing career was Angus Walters. As Walters only had master's papers for home waters, Bluenose in some international races was sometimes under the command the deep sea Lunenburg captain George Myra until the schooner reached the racing port.[5] The crew of Bluenose during her fishing career were mostly from Lunenburg but also included several Newfoundlanders.[6] George Tanner of Lunenburg is the last surviving crew member of Bluenose.[7]

Fame and commemoration

Bluenose, under full sail, is portrayed on the Bluenose postage stamp 50 cent issue. The Bluenose has been featured on a 1982 60-cent stamp that commemorated the International Philatelic Youth Exhibition. The Bluenose is featured on a 1988 37-cent issue that celebrated Bluenose skipper Angus Walters.

Bluenose also appears on the current Nova Scotia licence plate. The fishing schooner on the Canadian dime, added in 1937 at the height of fame for Bluenose, was actually based on a composite image of Bluenose and two other schooners, but has for years been commonly known as Bluenose. In 2002, the government of Canada declared the depiction on the dime to be Bluenose.[8]

Bluenose and her captain, Angus J. Walters of Lunenburg, were inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1955, making her the first and only non-human CSHF inductee until 1960, when she was joined by Canadian Hydroplane Champion Miss Supertest III. That same year another honour was bestowed upon the sailing ship when a new Canadian National Railways passenger-vehicle ferry for the inaugural Yarmouth-Bar Harbor service was launched as the M/V Bluenose.

Bluenose was the nickname of No. 434 Squadron RCAF and a image of the schooner appeared on the squadron badge.

Bluenose II

In 1963 a replica of Bluenose was built at Lunenburg using the original Bluenose plans and named Bluenose II. The replica was built by the Oland Brewery as a marketing tool for their Schooner Lager beer brand and as a pleasure yacht for the Olands family. Bluenose II was sold to the government of Nova Scotia in 1971 for the sum of $1 or 10 Canadian dimes. The replica schooner is used for tourism promotion as a "sailing ambassador". In honour of her predecessor's racing record, Bluenose II does not officially race. The replica has undergone several refits to extend her life. This vessel was decommissioned and dismantled in 2010, and an entirely new Bluenose (also named Bluenose II, since Transport Canada deemed it a "reconstruction") was built as close to the original schooner deemed necessary and launched in Lunenburg in 2013. Various subcomponents for this Bluenose II project were supplied from notable firms including the ships keel at Snyder's Shipyard in Dayspring, the ships backbone of laminated ribs at Covey Island Boatworks in Riverport and assembly of the vessel in Lunenburg. The vessel is currently tied up at the Lunenburg Foundry wharf in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Much controversy has surrounded the vessel due to over spending on the "refit" and falsified documents. After further repairs ownership of the restored Bluenose II was returned to the province of Nova Scotia and began a tour of Nova Scotia ports in the summer of 2015.[9]

Bluenose IV

In 2007, Joan Roué, the great-granddaughter of the designer William Roué, started raising funds to build a new Bluenose. She cited the need for a new ambassador for Nova Scotia and Canada, listing the particulars at a Bluenose IV website.[10] The name Bluenose III is owned by the province of Nova Scotia, and Ms. Roué could not reach an agreement for its use on the new schooner so Ms. Roué and North Atlantic Enterprises are proceeding anyway, however, under the name Bluenose IV. An agreement was reached with Snyder's Shipyard to build the new replica when fundraising was completed. However, as of 2009, Roué had not succeeded in raising the required funds.[11] This effort came to an end when the Province of Nova Scotia and the Canadian federal government stepped in and constructed a new Bluenose (also called "Bluenose II," as it was deemed to be a reconstruction) in 2013.[12]

In the media

Canadian Irish folk group The Irish Rovers released a tribute to the Bluenose on their 1979 album Tall Ships and Salty Dogs.

Canadian folk singer Stan Rogers honours both ships in his song "Bluenose", found on his albums Turnaround, released in 1978, and Home In Halifax, released posthumously in 1994.

The song Bluenose by Michael Stanbury is another musical rendition of the racing history of the bluenose.

A sailing ship called Bluenose appears in the 1990s children's television program Theodore Tugboat. The children's television series TUGS features a character named Bluenose, who may be named after the schooner.

The ship is also prominently mentioned in the Circle-Vision 360° film O Canada! in the Canadian pavilion at Epcot in Walt Disney World in Florida.

In 2001 Canadian folk musician Stompin' Tom Connors (OC) released a song about Nova Scotia, its people, and the Bluenose Sailing Ship called "Bluenose" on the CD "Stompin' Tom Connors Sings Canadian History."

Canadian Celtic punk band The Real McKenzies released a tribute to the Bluenose on their 2012 album Westwinds.

Kate Beaton, cartoonist of webcomic Hark! A Vagrant, devoted one of her comic strips to the Bluenose.[13]

See also


  1. Blakely, Stephen. "Rebirth of an Icon." Soundings, July 2013.
  2. Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management (27 July 2004). "How the Bluenose Got Its Name". Province of Nova Scotia.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. James Robbins, "Thebaud wins cup by second victory", The New York Times. October 19, 1930.
  4. Marsh, James H. (2006)
  5. "Christina O: From Snowy Nova Scotia to the Sunny Mediterranean, how a Canadian Frigate Became the World's Most Famous Super Yacht" The Marine Curator, Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, July 5, 2013
  6. "Bluenose Crew Database", Nova Scotia Archives and Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic
  7. John Demont, "Back in Her Element: Relaunch of Bluenose II Goes without a Hitch", Halifax Chronicle Herald, Sept. 28, 2012
  8. Auld, Alison (16 March 2002). "Boat on dime is Bluenose". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 23 March 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Schooner Bluenose IV website
  11. "Roué Looks for 7 Million for Bluenose IV",
  12. Blakely, Stephen (2013). Opt cit.
  13. Beaton, Kate. "Bluenose", Hark! A Vagrant. Accessed 3 December 2014.

Further reading

  • Getson, Heather-Anne, Bluenose: The Ocean Knows Her Name., Halifax: Nimbus Publishing, 2006.
  • Keith McLaren. A Race for Real Sailors: The Bluenose and the International Fishermen's Race 1920 - 1938. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2006.
  • Marq de Villiers. Witch in the Wind:The True Story of the Legendary Bluenose. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 2007.
  • Higgins, Andrew & Jesse I. Spalding III World War II Adventures of Canada's Bluenose Publication Date: April 1, 1998 | ISBN 0966307305 | ISBN 978-0966307306 | Edition: 1st

External links