Hands-On Canadian History: The Bluenose Fishing and Racing Vessel

The Bluenose Schooner was a fishing / racing vessel that was made in Nova Scotia. Its unique design made it incredibly fast and enabled it to become the champion in top ship races during the 1920s and 30s. It’s the ship that you can see on the Canadian dime.

Hands-On Canadian History: The Bluenose

Have a Boat Design Competition & Race

Materials Needed:

  • LEGO or other miscellaneous crafting supplies to build your boats
  • big enough area of water to float and race your boats

Challenge your child to create a boat out of the supplies you’ve provided that a) floats and b) uses a sail. Then get building. when designs are complete, head to your water racing location and do some test runs. If it manages to float, try blowing the sails and seeing how fast you can make it go.

We used Lego as our building tool (although we have also done this sort of activity in the past with popsicle sticks and paper with moderate success!), and spent a good hour in design mode as we all came up with our own boats, sifting through our collection of LEGO. Next, I filled up the kiddie wading pool and we gave them a test run. A first test showed us one minor flaw with LEGO: The cracks at each brick joint made our boats prone to water leaking in. That made it a great challenge to come up with a design that might withstand water the longest. Only one boat managed to both stay afloat and successfully be pushed across the pool with sails. This was a fun activity but boy,  can it get really competitive!

To learn more about the Bluenose, watch this short video from the National Film Board.

See all 31 Days of  Hands-on Canadian History.

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My Canadian Time Capsule