Construction is well underway at Peggy's Cove, one of Nova Scotia's most iconic tourism locations. The work being done is part of a $6.2 million effort by the Province of Nova Scotia to improve infrastructure in the area.
The improvements being made are necessary and long overdue. Over the years, deteriorating conditions, lack of maintenance, and wear and tear as the result of increased visitor traffic, have all contributed in the gradual decline of Peggy's Cove.
The work being performed will maintain the quality of life for the residents of Peggy's Cove and enhance the visitor experience of the more than 700,000 annual visitors to the area. It is believed that over half of all first time visitors to Nova Scotia visit Peggy's Cove during their stay.
New sidewalks, curbs, and road work will enhance pedestrian safety. In the past, visitors were forced to walk on the road itself or risk losing their footing on the uneven and heavily eroded shoulder.
A lack of public restroom facilities at Peggy's Cove is also an issue that will be addressed. In the past, visitors near the lighthouse had to rely on the small and often overcrowded washrooms located at the Sou'Wester Restaurant. Not an ideal situation for anyone.
Additional restrooms are located at the end of the village at the Visitor Centre - far away from the main activity area near the lighthouse. This is an inconvenience for many of the area's visitors..
Better traffic management and the parking lot expansion at the Visitor Centre will be welcomed. Especially, during peak visitation periods at the height of the tourism season. Lack of available parking is an issue that can not be overcome unless expansion takes place.
In addition to the planned infrastructure improvements, an additional funding of $3.1 million has been secured for an viewing deck to be built in an area in front of the Sou'Wester Restaurant that now serves as a turning road for motor vehicle traffic.
Nova Scotia has contributed $1.7 million through its Tourism Revitalization of Icons Program, a $6 million effort to improve and refurbish infrastructure at Peggy's Cove and other popular tourist locations throughout the province.
The Canadian Federal Government has contributed $1.42 million towards the project through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
Develop Nova Scotia, a provincial crown corporation, has been tasked with the responsibility of implementing the project through The Peggy's Cove Master Plan. Develop Nova Scotia engaged in a thorough consultation process with the residents of Peggy's Cove and other stakeholders over a 2-year period from 2019-2020 to create and design a plan to revitalize the area.
The new viewing deck will be made of wood and steel and is planned for completion by June, 2021. It will offer an elevated platform that will give a fantastic view of the lighthouse and the rocks that surround it.
As many visitors to Peggy's Cove will already know, the rugged terrain of the area makes it difficult for people of limited mobility to navigate the area. The viewing deck will be handicap accessible and allow all visitors an equal opportunity to enjoy the amazing view.
However, the viewing deck is not a universally welcomed. Especially by those who fear that the structure will prevent access to the granite rocks and the lighthouse itself. Other people are opposed to its construction based on the belief that the deck will be intrusive and the natural beauty of Peggy's Cove will suffer as a result.
The design of the deck took these concerns into consideration. However, its critics are still not convinced and they are vocal in their opposition.
Anchor Tours supports the necessary work being done at Peggy's Cove and believes its critical to the growth and sustainability of tourism in the region. The planned viewing deck will be an exciting addition and will allow people of all abilities to enjoy the natural beauty of Peggy's Cove well into the future.
Peggys Cove has long been Nova Scotia's most popular tourist destinations. Annually, close to 500,000 people visit the area to see the world's most photographed lighthouse and to appreciate the natural beauty of the coastal landscape.
Having said that, what else is there to do in Peggys Cove other than taking a picture of a lighthouse? Actually, there's a lot!
Here's our pick of Things To Do In Peggys Cove - Besides Seeing A Lighthouse.
Swissair Flight 111 Memorial
Located 2.2km from Peggys Cove in the village of Whalesback, is one of (2) memorials dedicated to the downing of Swissair Flight 111 on September 2, 1998. The monument is dedicated to the tireless efforts of all of the first responders who participated in the recovery efforts of the 229 passengers and crew who died onboard the ill-fated airliner.
The second monument located in Bayswater, close to the nearby village of Blandford, was erected to pay respects to the passengers and crew who lost their lives. Their names are inscribed on the memorial there.
It might come as a surprise to some that the first responders to the scene of the crash were fishermen from Peggys Cove and other nearby Indian Harbour and West Dover. They arrived long before the Coast Guard, RCMP, and Canadian Navy, to look for survivors. Unfortunately, their efforts were in vain and none of them were prepared for the grisly discovery that awaited them.
While visiting the Swissair Flight 111 Memorial, please take a few moments to pay your respects. The area offers unique photo opportunities of the rugged granite coastline and Peggys Cove off in the distance.
St. John's Anglican Church
Located a short distance from the main entrance to Peggys Cove, St. John's Anglican Church is the only church in the area and was built in the Gothic Revival style that was popular at the time in 1893. It replaced the prior church that originated in 1850 and subsequently destroyed by fire in 1881.
The church welcomes visitors and is open to the general public 6 days per week in the months of June to October. Church volunteers are there are pleased to give an informative guided tour and are quick to point out that the church still plays an important part in the local community to this day.
While there, make sure to see the 2 beautiful murals donated by local artist, the late William deGarthe. The paintings were donated to the church in 1963 and are just several of his works of art on display in Peggys Cove.
William deGarthe Art Gallery & Fishermen's Monument
Directly opposite to the Visitor Information Centre lies the Willam deGarthe Art Gallery and Fishermen's Monument. The gallery is comprised of deGathe's former residence and art studio and is open to the public during the summer months with 65 of his paintings and sculptures on display.
William deGarthe was an accomplished artist who painted, drew sketches, sculpted, and authored 3 books in his lifetime. He immigrated to Canada in 1926 from his homeland in Finland and lived briefly in Ontario, and Montreal before settling in Nova Scotia in 1930.
deGarthe was a commercial artist for the majority of his career and later in life owned an advertising business based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He sold the business in 1955 and moved to Peggys Cove where he resided until his death.
Next to the gallery is Fishermen's Monument, one of deGarthe's last works before his death in 1983. It was about 80% complete before his passing. One of deGarthe's students, Rene Barrette, was asked by deGarthe to assist him in its creation and he completed the sculpture in the years after deGarthe's death. deGarthe was cremated and his ashes are interred in the memorial.
Fishermen's Monument was created to be a lasting memorial to Nova Scotia Fishermen. The sculpture depicts fishermen and their families making their livelihood from the sea while under the protective arms of the guardian angel, St. Elmo.
As you can see, William deGarthe had a deep admiration for the people of Nova Scotia and Peggys Cove in particular.
If you enjoy local folk art, then make sure to make this a stop while visiting Peggys Cove.
Enjoy Lobster? Then Look no Further
If you have an appetite for seafood and love lobster, you have come to the right place! Peggys Cove is well known for its lobster fishery and has a number of locals providing freshly cooked lobster for your enjoyment.
The traditional lobster roll served here is one of the best values in the area, with generous portions of meat for a modest price. Occasionally, other smoked salmon or mackerel is available as well.
If seafood isn't to your liking or you just prefer to have a sit-down meal, the Sou'Wester restaurant is adjacent to the Peggys Cove lighthouse. The Sou'Wester also has an extensive gift store on-site, for those looking for souvenirs of their visit to Peggys Cove.
For dessert, nothing beats a homemade ice cream from Dee Dee's. They have a wide variety of flavours available and make their ice cream from local Nova Scotia ingredients. Their Nova Scotia Berry flavour is amazing. though personally, I'm partial to the Raspberry Passion Sorbet.
Take A Moment To Enjoy The View!
This might seem like an obvious thing to do but you'd be surprised by how many people overlook doing so.
Take the opportunity to connect on a personal level. Sit down and block everything from your mind and focus on an incredible sunset or the waves crashing along the rocky coastline. The beautiful, stark, and barren windswept landscape of Peggys Cove is truly a sight to behold.
It is a calming and rewarding experience that will leave you with a sense of inner peace and tranquility.
As you can see, Peggys Cove has more to offer than incredible views of its lighthouse. I would encourage you to explore beyond the recommendations of this article and find something special to take away from your experience there.
Anchor Tours specializes in providing guided tours to Peggys Cove. See our tour itineraries listed below. Join us and see one of Nova Scotia's most enduring and iconic locations.
Is Peggys Cove Dangerous?
Peggys Cove can be dangerous for those who chose to disregard the many warning signs, telling them to be aware of the wave action along the shoreline and the potential danger of venturing out on the wet, slippery, and smooth black coloured granite rocks.
Every year, countless tourists act irresponsibly and jeopardize their own personal safety and those of the first responders who are called to save them. Often, people are oblivious to the power of the sea and the danger that awaits them, such as being swept out to sea to drown or mercilessly pounded against the granite rocks by powerful heavy waves.
Due to the increasing number of incidents at Peggys Cove, the Nova Scotia Provincial Government has embarked on a campaign designed to improve public awareness of the potential dangers. New highly visible signage are located throughout the site to replace the older ones and are more numerous. Public service announcements on video are also being shown at Access Nova Scotia (public service offices) locations.
For some people, the government hasn't gone far enough. There are those who think it's in the best interest of public safety to erect a chain link fence around Peggys Cove to protect people from themselves. Others, are calling for security staff at the site to instruct people not to venture into potentially unsafe areas. Thankfully, the provincial government refuses to entertain the idea, knowing that people will ignore it by climbing over it.
The most direct route to Peggys Cove from the Halifax cruise port is approximately 47 km in distance and 54 minutes driving time, depending on traffic conditions. Travelling this route will take you on an in-land approach through Halifax to Peggys Cove.
A more scenic drive along the eastern side of St. Margaret's Bay will be about 62 km and will take approximately an hour's driving time.
As you travel along the shoreline of St. Margaret's Bay, you along the coastline and you will pass through a number of small picturesque fishing communities such as Hacketts Cove and Indian Harbour. You will also be able to visit the SwissAir 111 Memorial, dedicated to the tragic crash of an airliner off the coast of Peggys Cove that happened on September 22, 1998.
Tourists prefer the more scenic route and comparable driving time compared to the more direct inland approach.
The original lighthouse at Peggys Cove was built in 1868. It was a wooden structure featuring a beacon that was lit by a kerosene oil lamp. A residence for the lighthouse keeper was incorporated into the building so that a permanent keeper could be stationed there..
The current lighthouse that stands today was built in August of 1914 and will be 106 years old in 2020. The lighthouse that stands today and is located 18 m away from its predecessor. It is a traditional octagonal design and is made out of concrete and not wood. It stands 15.2 m high.
The current lighthouse that stands today was built in August of 1914 and will be 106 years old in 2020.
During World War II, Peggys Cove Lighthouse served as a radio relay station for the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). It helped monitor ship traffic that was arriving or departing from nearby Halifax Harbour.
In 1954, Hurricane Edna swept through the region and heavily damaged the original building where the lighthouse keeper lived. As such, It was determined that it was no longer suitable for use as a residence and the Canadian Government decided to tear it down and not rebuild a new one. By 1958, that lighthouse keeper had retired from his job and the decision was made to automate the facility.
Why Is Peggys Cove Famous?
It is often said that the Peggys Cove is one of the most frequently photographed locations in all of Canada, and arguably it's the most photographed lighthouse in the world. For many tourists, a visit to Peggys Cove is on their bucket list of places they wish to travel to.
Peggys Cove is amazingly beautiful with its wind swept granite rocks that have been rounded and smoothed after many thousands of years of erosion from the environment. The rugged Nova Scotia coastline and power of the sea add to its mystique.
The accessibility of Peggys Cove is another reason that makes it appealing to many people. Visitors can drive to within a short distance from the lighthouse and walk to it. Lighthouses in Nova Scotia are generally in remote and difficult to travel to and are often designated restricted areas by government authorities . As a result, most lighthouses are seldom visited by the general public.
It's popular for Nova Scotian tourists of Nova Scotia often to see local fishing villages in addition to lighthouses. There are few places other than Peggys Cove that have both of these in the same location, making it unique in that regard.
Peggys Cove is also close to Nova Scotia's Capital City of Halifax. Halifax is the most densely populated city in the Atlantic Maritime Provinces. Peggys Cove's close proximity to Halifax makes it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
As you can see, the geographic features and location of Peggys Cove has a great deal of influence in making it as famous as it is today.
Where Is Peggys Cove?
Peggys Cove is located in the St. Margaret's Bay Region within the Halifax Regional Municipality of the Canadian Province of Nova Scotia.
Peggys Cove lies in the St. Margaret's Bay area of the Halifax Regional Municipality as shown in the map below.
The coordinates of Peggys Cove are 44.4934° N, 63.9126° W. The satellite image below shows the village of Peggys Cove and the lighthouse for which it is most famous for.
Who is Peggys Cove Named After?
Peggys Cove was named by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain, who explored Nova Scotia in the early 1600's. He named the region, St. Marguerite's Bay, after his mother. Marguerite's Cove, was the name originally given to the cove.
As the English exerted more control over Nova Scotia, people started to use the English translation of the name Margaret. Peggy is the nickname commonly used for people who are named Margaret. Over time, Peggys Cove became the name people preferred to use and is still used to this day.
Having said that, there is a second account of how Peggys Cove was named. It is a dramatic and romantic story that has captured the hearts of many.
It is told that during the 1800's a schooner wrecked at Halibut Rock near Peggys Cove during a storm on a dark October night during a storm of sleet, Apparently, there was only one survivor of the wrecked schooner. The survivor was a young woman who swam towards shore and was rescued by people who rescued her there.
The woman's name was Margaret, who went by the common nickname of Peggy. After her dramatic rescue, she would come to live in the community and later marry a eligible bachelor from the area. The nearby residents would often say that they where going to visit the young lady who they referred to as Peggy of The Cove. This would later inspire the name of the location to become Peggys Cove.
There are several different variations of this story. In another version, it is believed that she was a young girl who developed amnesia after the wreck of her vessel and didn't remember her name and the local residents decided to name her Peggy. In both stories, the female is brought into the village and would marry a fisherman who lived in the community.
Everyone loves a great romance, however, the more likely scenario is that Peggys Cove was named after Samuel de Champlain's mother.