Lighthouse pin Peggys Cove

Lighthouse pin Peggys Cove

Peggys Cove is 43 kilometers (26 miles) southwest of downtown Halifax and comprises one of the numerous small fishing communities located around the perimeter of the Chebucto Peninsula. I visited there in 2006, walking out to the lighthouse (although carefully—the rocks are slippery and I am not all that stable.) The community is named after the cove of the same name, a name also shared with Peggys Point, immediately to the east of the cove. The village marks the eastern point of St. Margaret’s Bay.

The first recorded name of the cove was Eastern Point Harbor or Peggs Harbor 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.

Lighthouse on a spit at the right

Lighthouse on a spit at the right

Many artists and photographers flocked to Peggys Cove. As roads improved, the number of tourists increased. Today the population is smaller but Peggys Cove remains an active fishing village and a favorite tourist destination.

Roads and several homes were badly damaged at Peggys Cove in 2003 by the extensive flooding that accompanied Hurricane Juan which also damaged the cove’s breakwater. The breakwater was further washed away by Hurricane Bill in 2009, allowing waves to seriously damage a home and gift shop, and washed away one of the cove’s characteristic wooden fish sheds.

Geology

More than 400 million years ago, in the Devonian Period, the plate tectonics movement of the Earth’s crust allowed molten material to bubble up from the Earth’s interior. This formed the rocks we see today and are part of the Great Nova Scotia batholith. The unique landscape of Peggy’s Cove and surrounding areas was subsequently carved by the migration of glaciers and the ocean tides. About 20,000 years ago, an ice ridge moved south from Canada’s Arctic region covering much of North America. Along with the ebb and flow of the glaciers, the ice ridge eventually melted and shifted and in the process scooped away and scoured large sections of rock, vegetation, and topsoil. As melted land glaciers flowed back to the oceans the changing tidal flows and rising sea levels filled the scarred areas with water, forming coves and inlets. Large boulders composed of 415-million-year-old Devonian granite, called glacial erratics, were lifted by the ice and carried for long distances before being deposited upon the landscape as the ice receded, leaving rugged barrens. The movement of the glacial ice and rocks left scouring marks in the bedrock that are still visible.

Peggys Cove from Swissair 111 Memorial Site

Swissair Flight 111

The Swissair Flight 111 Memorial is located at The Whalesback, a promontory approximately 1 km northwest of Peggys Cove. It is one of two memorials built to commemorate the victims of the Swissair Flight 111 disaster, which saw the aircraft crash into St. Margarets Bay on 2 September 1998. The crash site is roughly equidistant between the Whalesback Memorial and another memorial at Bayswater, Nova Scotia, located on the Aspotogan Peninsula on the western shore of the bay, opposite Peggys Cove.

Location: 10-B4

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