Statement made on 08 March 2012 by Senator Wilfred Moore
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore:
Honourable senators, yesterday marked the last day of classes at the Lunenburg Academy in historic Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. This school was built in 1894-95 on Gallows Hill and is affectionately known as the "Castle on the Hill." The site was chosen following an acrimonious debate in town council. The resulting tie vote was broken by Mayor Watson Oxner casting in favour. He was defeated in the next election.
The school was designed by H.H. Mott of Saint John, New Brunswick, and was constructed by the Oxford Furniture Company of Oxford, Nova Scotia. When that builder exceeded the $35,000 budget, the town council dismissed it and engaged local master carpenter Solomon Morash to finish the building.
The Lunenburg Academy opened its doors on November 7, 1895, and was part of the county academy system of schools in Nova Scotia's Department of Education, teaching grades 1 through 12. The last continuous such house of learning, at its closing yesterday the academy was an elementary school teaching primary through grade 5. Beginning on March 21, 2012, the new Bluenose Academy will open its doors for grades primary through 9.
On March 6, 1984, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada designated the Lunenburg Academy as a site of both national and architectural significance. In 1995, upon its centennial, the academy was featured on a stamp of Canada.
This remarkable building is a landmark in the town of Lunenburg. Its unusual architectural style is enhanced by an abundance of decorative Victorian designs, sometimes referred to as gingerbread, which create a unique structure admired by townsfolk and visitors alike.
The Lunenburg Academy is owned by the Town of Lunenburg. In 1981 the Lunenburg Academy Foundation was incorporated as a society of volunteers whose mandate is to upkeep, preserve and restore the academy. That community service has been successfully carried out under the caring leadership of Roxanna Smith and Jane Ritcey. It is now the task of the town and that foundation to strive to ensure that the academy space continues to be used for education-related purposes, and we wish them well in that work.