In Praise of the Peggy’s Point Lighthouse

This iconic beacon draws visitors from around the globe.

Peggy's Point LighthousePhoto: Karen Cook

A love letter to a famous landmark

If you were to ask anyone around the world to name one place in Nova Scotia, I am sure the prompt answer would be Peggy’s Cove.

Known worldwide for its iconic Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, its stark and rocky shores that seemingly lead you to the edge of the world, and its stunning beauty, Peggy’s Cove is a must-see or bucket-list stop for tourists arriving in Canada’s ocean playground.

Located approximately 30 miles from Halifax, which is the capital of the province, the tiny fishing village is home to less than 50 year-round residents. But on any given day in summer or fall, that population swells dramatically. All arrive by tour bus, bike or car to see that iconic lighthouse. With visitors scurrying atop the massive boulders, known as glacial erratics, it looks for all the world like a huge anthill!

It’s almost impossible to capture a view of the lighthouse on a nice summer day without people in your viewfinder, either posing for selfies with the lighthouse in the background, or just standing there, taking in the dramatic seacoast and rugged beauty.

Built in 1868, the original wooden lighthouse was replaced by the current structure in 1915. It is perched atop the rocky shores, where the waves of the Atlantic Ocean crash nonstop. The rocks below the lighthouse are known as the “black rocks,” as they are constantly awash with the powerful waves that have been known to sweep many an unsuspecting visitor into the cold waters of St. Margarets Bay. Some are lucky enough to be rescued but others are not. There are signs everywhere reminding people of the dangers: “Keep off the black rocks!”

The origin of the name of this picturesque little village has never been confirmed but there are several theories. The most common is that the village is likely named after Saint Margarets Bay (Peggy being the nickname for Margaret), which Samuel de Champlain named after his mother, Marguerite Le Roy.

On this day, knowing my chances of capturing an unspoiled view of the lighthouse were limited, I opted to snap pics from a different side. The tall marsh grasses blow gracefully in the salt breeze and frame the lighthouse, while the massive granite boulders are waiting for me to scale them, or sit for a moment and gaze in fascination at the relentless waves crashing against the shoreline.

A day at Peggy’s Cove is a day to surround yourself with the rugged beauty of the Nova Scotia coastline, its history and the smell of the salty north Atlantic Ocean. If you come—enjoy!

Originally Published in Our Canada

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