A conversation with Hilary Grant, Heritage Officer and Senior Planner for the town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Colourful wooden Houses of Lunenburg.

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, is one of Canada’s most historic towns, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This podcast served as the final virtual ‘lecture’ in my 2nd-year course on 18th– and 19th-century architecture. The topic is arguably the greatest site of 18th– and 19th-century heritage in Canada: the town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. My guest is Hilary Grant, Heritage Officer and Senior Planner for Lunenburg – and a graduate of our History & Theory of Architecture program.

In a wide-ranging conversation, Hilary and I chatted about her career trajectory, Lunenburg’s extraordinary heritage value, and the not inconsiderable challenges involved in being both a World Heritage Site and a thriving 21st-century community. At the end, she gives us all a task to perform – but I’ll let her explain that to you.

Here’s our conversation:

Here are some of the features that Hilary discusses:

Rectininear grid diagram showing the street plan of Lunenburg.

The original grid plan of Lunenburg, perfectly preserved to this day.

People gather around a bandstand and listen to musicians playing in Lunenburg.

The bandstand in the public heart of Lunenburg, hosting (among many other things) the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival.

A white wooden church in Lunenburg.

St. John’s Church, Lunenburg, re-built after a fire in 2001.

Colourful wooden houses in Lunenburg.

The vernacular architecture of Lunenburg.


Lunenburg by the Sea is a wonderful repository of archival images of Lunenburg.

You can find Lunenburg’s listing as a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site here.

All music used in the podcast was by Oliver Schroer, from the albums Whirled, A Million Stars, and Celtica. Most of Oliver’s music can be purchased through Borealis Records.

Peter Coffman

Supervisor, History & Theory of Architecture program, Carleton University