Bluenose II was built in 1963 as a tribute to the memory of her predecessor and to those who created the Bluenose legacy – the fishermen, her builders at the Smith & Rhuland Shipyard in Lunenburg, her owners, her feisty master Captain Angus Walters, and her designer William Roué.
In 1962 Oland & Son approached W.J. Roué about using the plans of his most famous design for a promotional vessel, to be named Oland’s Schooner. At the same time, there was a public outcry for a replica of the beloved Bluenose but attempts to raise the necessary funds to build her were unsuccessful. Hopes for seeing another Bluenose diminished until some people from Lunenburg learned of the brewery plans; they put together a delegation and approached the firm to see if they would consider building the second Bluenose.
The firm agreed and made arrangements with Roué to use the Bluenose design for Bluenose II. Her her hull design, sail plan and rigging would be an exact replica of her predecessor; below deck, the fish hold and basic crew quarters of the original Bluenose were replaced by comfortable staterooms, a large salon and wholly equipped galley complete with a serving pantry.
At a cost of $250,000 Bluenose II was built at the same shipyard as her predecessor and by some of the same shipwrights. Captain Angus Walters and William Roué helped drive the spike to mark the start of construction.
More than 15,000 lined the shores of Lunenburg when Bluenose II was launched July 24, 1963. She was to be a working ship used primarily as a promotional tool for the Oland ‘Schooner’ beer brand, as a private yacht for her owners as well as a charter ship in the Caribbean during winter months. She would spend part of each year in Halifax and Lunenburg so the public could experience firsthand Nova Scotia’s seafaring tradition. She would proudly show the Nova Scotia flag wherever she was.
In 1971, after Oland & Son was sold to an Ontario-based brewery, Bluenose II was sold for $1 to the Province of Nova Scotia – her current owners. The province operated Bluenose II until 1994 when they announced she had been decommissioned in need of a $1 million refit; funds the government was not prepared to spend.
Dismayed by the announcement and seeming demise of Bluenose II, a private sector group of volunteers led by Senator Wilfred Moore formed the Bluenose II Preservation Trust Society, successfully raising the necessary funds to refit Bluenose II at a cost of $498,000.
She was recommissioned in the spring of 1995, just in time to act as Host Vessel for the Economic Summit meeting of the Leaders of the G-7 countries at Halifax, Nova Scotia.
On June 16, 1995, the G-7 leaders took a cruise on Bluenose II; she hosted European Union President Jacques Santer, Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, U.S. President Bill Clinton, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, French President Jacques Chirac, British Prime Minister John Major and Italian Prime Minister Lamberto Dini.
The Trust operated Bluenose II until March 2005; the Lunenburg Museum Society assumed stewardship for Bluenose II in April 2005 under contract with the government of Nova Scotia, which in May 2009 announced a major restoration project for Bluenose II.
She had grown tired and hogged; her final sail was September 30, 2009.
The restoration of Bluenose II started July 5, 2010, when she was relocated to a wharf in Lunenburg, NS near the construction site of the original Bluenose.
In December 2010 a Halifax newspaper reported that much of the iconic schooner had been deemed construction waste and put through a wood chipper.
In September 2012 a new Bluenose II was launched in Lunenburg Harbour, mere feet away from where her predecessors had slipped into the water for the first time.