Peggy’s Cove and the beautiful Nova Scotia shoreline
The day after we got an overload of colors at Lunenburg, we continued our sightseeing along the shores of Nova Scotia. Our plan was to visit Peggy’s Cove, which is famous for its picturesque lighthouse. Fortunately, we were tipped off to go there after 5:00pm, as busloads of tourists teem over the cove and lighthouse during the day. So, instead we explored several towns and harbors along the southern and eastern shores of Nova Scotia. Our drive to the southern shore took us through Mahoney Bay, where three beautiful churches – Anglican, Lutheran and United – caught our attention.
These three elegant churches can all be seen together along Mahoney Bay harbor.
While driving along we stumbled upon the two Swissair Flight 111 memorials. Fifteen years ago, on Sept. 2, 1998, Swissair Flight 111 crashed into the Atlantic, killing all 229 on board. Two memorials were established – one to the west of the crash site at Bayswater, where the remains of the crew and passengers are buried, and the other to the east at Whalesback, near Peggy’s Cove. These locations were chosen for their proximity to the crash site, which is roughly equidistant off the shores of Whalesback and Bayswater, Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia’s best beaches are located on the eastern shore. We spent some time at one, Lawrencetown Beach. We noted it was quite a hub of activity with surfers, swimmers and just gawkers like us.
As the sun began to dip, we headed out to Peggy’s Cove. When we heard the name of this place we imagined a large cove, but when we arrived we discovered that it’s a tiny (I mean really tiny) seaside town with a population of about fifty. But because of its celebrated lighthouse and the quaint fishing village, it has become a popular tourist attraction. The town and lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove are one of the most photographed locations in Canada. As we walked around the village we saw hundreds of lobster traps, and boats with their fishing gear littering the docks.
The rugged beauty of Peggy’s Cove is peppered with huge boulders called “erratics”, remnants left 10,000 years ago by receding glaciers. Although this unique environment has been designated a preservation area, it is still an active fishing community. It’s located about 30 minutes south of Halifax.
The most famous resident in town was William deGarthe, a Finnish artist who carved a memorial, “A lasting monument to Nova Scotian fishermen.” The 100 ft. granite outcrop depicts St. Michael and 32 fishermen with their wives and children, enveloped by the wings of St. Elmo, the patron saint of sailors – as well as the legendary Peggy. deGarthe began the sculpture at age 70 and took 6 years to complete it.
But the centerpiece of Peggy’s Cove is the iconic white and red beacon lighthouse perched atop the rugged granite rocks. It is located on a rocky headland at the end of Peggy’s Point Road.
This well-known lighthouse, officially known as Peggy’s Point Light, was built in 1914 and is 44 ft. tall. The octagonal concrete structure overlooks the mouth of St. Margaret’s Bay. Between 1975 and 2009, the ground floor of this lighthouse operated as a post office where visitors could mail their postcards in the summer months – the only lighthouse post office in North America at the time. While the post office is no longer there, the image of this famous lighthouse on top of the giant rocks with the crashing sea waves is considered just as beautiful as it has been for almost a century.
Since many visitors aren’t sensible enough to move away from the lighthouse at sunset so the dozens of photographers can get a good shot, I tried to work around them to get a decent shot as the sun hid behind the horizon.
Although there are many similar lighthouses in eastern Canada, this is a genuine star, picturesque and simply beautiful!