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Canada Nova Scotia to buy historic Lunenburg buildings

Nova Scotia is buying up a chunk of Lunenburg's historic downtown waterfront to ensure the buildings remain preserved.

Premier John Hamm said the province will purchase 17 of the 22 downtown buildings at a cost of $5.5-million.

Later, the land ownership will be transferred to the Lunenburg Waterfront Association Inc., a community organization formed to protect the historic properties.

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"The waterfront is a key feature of the Town of Lunenburg's UNESCO designation as a World Heritage Site. Unless we acted, these properties could have been divided and sold off one by one and there would have been a risk of losing unique historic structures and businesses," Mr. Hamm said Wednesday.

Town Mayor Laurence Mawhinney said the waterfront area is "crucial to the economy and social future of our town." The government said an agreement has been signed between the province and Clearwater Seafoods, the current owner, to hand over ownership to the government.

Lunenburg's historic waterfront includes retail shops along with a sail loft, dory shop, machine shop, brokerage and retail outlets, an iron forge, marine service operators and building spaces.

The province said the purchase of the buildings will prevent the loss jobs in the city's tourism and heritage industries.

Lunenburg was first settled in 1753, mostly by settlers who came from the Upper Rhine area of present-day Germany, Switzerland and France. It was the first settlement in Nova Scotia after Halifax was established.

It was named in honour of King George II, Duke of Brunschweig-Luneburg.

The old town section of Lunenburg has remained virtually unchanged over the years, containing many well-preserved buildings.

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1995 Old Town Lunenburg was designated a UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site.

The town's waterfront also houses Bluenose II, a sailing ship that pays homage to the original Bluenose.

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