In mid-August 2005 the Government of the Province of Nova Scotia, Canada, finalized the purchase of seventeen properties, including 22 buildings and eight wharfs for $5.5 million Canadian (over $4,678,000 USD) in the waterfront district of Old Town Lunenburg, a World Heritage site since 1995.

The buildings had been for sale since the previous winter by Clearwater Seafoods, a major employer in the area. The buildings all reflect the marine heritage of Lunenburg, and include a sail loft, dory shop, an iron forge and buildings used by marine vessel operators.

Maintaining a healthy waterfront area has long been recognized as crucial to the community’s economic and social welfare, and concerns were raised around the sale about potential risks to the town’s future.  The provincial government has agreed to eventually transfer ownership of the buildings to a local community association, which will manage the properties with the aim of renting and reselling to businesses that are compatible with Lunenburg’s heritage.

The waterfront is an integral part of Old Town Lunenburg.  The town is included on the World Heritage List as the best surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America, retaining its original layout and appearance with a distinctive vernacular architectural style.