Peggys Cove is 43 kilometres southwest of downtown Halifax and comprises one of the numerous small fishing communities located around the perimeter of the Chebucto Peninsula. Peggy’s Cove is one of most popular stops in Atlantic Canada. Set on rocky shores, the lighthouse and village at Peggy’s Cove are a photographer’s paradise on the Nova Scotia coast, 43 kms southwest of Halifax. Despite its popularity this tiny fishing village has been able keep the same relaxed atmosphere that has made it famous. Peggy’s Cove is truly one of Canada’s gems.
The community is named after the cove of the same name. Peggy is a nickname for Margaret, and the village may have taken its name from St. Margarets Bay upon which it is situated.
Peggys Cove is one of the busiest tourist attractions in Nova Scotia and is a prime attraction on the Lighthouse Trail scenic drive. The community’s famous lighthouse marks the eastern entrance of St. Margarets Bay and is officially known as the Peggys Point Lighthouse.
History of Peggys Cove:
The first recorded name of the cove was Eastern Point Harbour or Peggs Harbour in 1766. The village is likely named after Saint Margaret’s Bay (Peggy being the nickname for Margaret), which Samuel de Champlain named after his mother Margarite. There has been much folklore created to explain the name. One story suggests the village may have been named after the wife of an early settler.
The popular legend claims that the name came from the sole survivor of a shipwreck at Halibut Rock near the cove. Artist and resident William deGarthe said she was a young woman while others claim she was a little girl too young to remember her name and the family who adopted her called her Peggy.
The young shipwreck survivor married a resident of the cove in 1800 and became known as “Peggy of the Cove” attracting visitors from around the bay who eventually named the village, Peggy’s Cove, after her nickname.
Visit the LightHouse:
Peggys Cove lighthouse is a classic red-and-white lighthouse still operated by the Canadian Coast Guard. The light station is situated on an extensive granite outcrop at Peggys Point, immediately south of the village and its cove. This lighthouse is one of the most-photographed structures in Atlantic Canada and one of the most recognizable lighthouses in the world.
The first lighthouse at Peggys Cove was built in 1868 and was a wooden house with a beacon on the roof. At sundown the keeper lit a kerosene oil lamp magnified by a catoptric reflector (a silver-plated mirror) creating the red beacon light marking the eastern entrance to St. Margarets Bay. That lighthouse was replaced by the current structure, an octagonal lighthouse which was built in 1914. It is made of reinforced concrete but retains the eight-sided shape of earlier generations of wooden light towers. It stands almost 15 metres (49 ft) high.
The old wooden lighthouse became the keeper’s dwelling and remained near to the current lighthouse until it was damaged by Hurricane Edna in 1954 and was removed. The lighthouse was automated in 1958. Since then, the red light was changed to white light, then to a green light in the late 1970s. Finally to conform to world standards the light was changed to red in 2007.
From its inception, Peggys Cove community’s economy revolved around the fishery. However, tourism began to overtake fishing in economic importance following the Second World War. Today, Peggys Cove is primarily a tourist attraction, although its inhabitants still fish for lobster, and the community maintains a rustic undeveloped appearance.
The regional municipality and the provincial government have strict land-use regulations in the vicinity of Peggys Cove, with most property development being prohibited. Similarly there are restrictions on who can live in the community to prevent inflation of property values for year-round residents.
It is still one of the most visited places in Nova Scotia and can be a wonderful stopover for anyone who wishes to get away from the fast pased city hustle!