Peggy’s Cove, NS, Canada

Peggy’s Cove is a small village facing the Atlantic Ocean. It epitomizes how fishermen and their families lived and worked along the Nova Scotia coastline for hundreds of years. This is an enchanting excursion from Halifax. Peggy’s Cove must be on your itinerary.

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1 Peggy’s Point Lighthouse in Peggy’s Cove, Canada

Peggy’s Cove is a quintessential fishing village – small, quaint and picturesque – about a 45 minute drive from downtown Halifax. Perched atop slabs of exposed gray granite is Peggy’s Point Lighthouse. This is the most famous of the 150 lighthouses still operating in Nova Scotia. The white, octagonal tower stands 49 feet at the end of a headland along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It was built in 1915 to replace the original from 1868. Expect crowds of camera-carrying tourists. Locals claim this is among the most photographed sites in Atlantic Canada.

185 Peggys Point Rd, Peggys Cove, NS B3Z 3S1, Canada

2 Fisherman Statue Wearing Sou’wester in Peggy’s Cove, Canada

If you are driven to Peggy’s Cove – by tour bus, taxi driver or private guide – you will park in a lot next to The Sou’Wester, a large gift store and restaurant. But what is a sou’wester? It is a waterproof hat with a long flap over the neck and down the back to protect fishermen and sailors from cold rain and wind. In front is an oversized brim acting as a gutter to keep water off the face. The term is often extended to a long raincoat. This carving outside the restaurant models the ensemble. Note the lobster trap. Today, they are typically made from plastic covered metal versus the traditional wooden version.

178 Peggys Point Rd, Peggys Cove, NS B3Z 3S2, Canada

3 Exploring Peggy’s Cove, Canada

To explore the village, simply walk down a hill from the lighthouse and Sou’Wester Restaurant. Don’t worry about getting lost. You can see most of Peggy’ Cove from any vantage point. Just follow Peggy’s Point Road to the waterfront. Savor the quaint scenery along the way. Step inside the few boutique shops nestled in small worn houses. Smell the fresh sea air. Total time to explore Peggy’s Cove is up to you. Round trip walk time can be 15 to 20 minutes. But why rush a good thing? Allow at least a couple of hours to do the village justice.

165 Peggys Point Rd, Peggys Cove, NS B3Z 3S2, Canada

4 History of Peggy’s Cove, Canada

In 1766, this cove was called Eastern Point Harbour. Other maps listed the name as Peggs Harbour. The village was formally founded in 1811 when King George III of the United Kingdom granted land to a handful of German immigrants. They soon established farms across 800 acres and began fishing in the Atlantic Ocean. The idyllic village seems suspended in a time warp. This is no accident. In 1962, a law was passed with strict limitations on development and real estate transactions. Most of the families have lived here for centuries. They steadfastly maintain the ways of their ancestors.

162 Peggys Point Rd, Peggys Cove, NS B3Z 3S2, Canada

5 Cape Islander Boat in Peggy’s Cove, Canada

An appealing aspect of Peggy’s Cove is admiring the boats moored in the inlet. The largest is the Harbour Mist. This is a Cape Islander boat. The design is credited to Ephriam Atkinson. Since the turn of the 20th century, this style has been used extensively for lobster fishing across Atlantic Canada. Locals call them Novi boats.

153 Peggys Point Rd, Peggys Cove, NS B3Z 3S2, Canada

6 Decaying Wooden Boat at Peggy’s Cove, Canada

At the opposite end of the fishing vessel spectrum are small wooden boats. All are old. Some are in remarkably good shape. Others are decaying, a mere skeleton of their former working days.

148 Peggys Point Rd, Peggys Cove, NS B3Z 3S2, Canada

7 The Buoy Shop in Peggy’s Cove, Canada

The most delightful shopping experience in Peggy’s Cove is The Buoy Shop. Just look for the window with starfish dangling from fishing nets. Standing there to greet you is a fisherman holding two huge Atlantic cod (the longest on record was six feet and over 200 pounds). Step inside the timeworn red door. Colorful wooden buoys are everywhere. There is also an abundance of fishing memorabilia of every type for any curious day tripper. And if you enjoy hearing fish stories, you’d better have a seat and plenty of time.

133 Peggys Point Rd, Peggys Cove, NS B3Z 3S1, Canada

8 Lobster Buoys in Peggy’s Cove, Canada

These buoys outside of The Buoy Shop were carved by store owner Roger Crooks. He signs each one with the same pride as an artist signing a painting. Roger fished the encircling waters for decades before retiring to open his shop. Like many of his neighbors, Roger’s family represents six generations who have lived in and loved Peggy’s Cove since 1811.

133 Peggys Point Rd, Peggys Cove, NS B3Z 3S1, Canada

9 Succulent Taste of Lobster in Peggy’s Cove, Canada

Not eating lobster while visiting Peggy’s Cove is equivalent to not seeing the lighthouse … heresy. The best sit-down choice is the Sou’Wester Restaurant. Their menu lists lobster rolls, platters and whole tails plus other seafood options. The best stand-up choice for lobster rolls is the U-cook Lobster truck. Your mouth will be amazed at the taste of really fresh lobster. The industry is booming in Nova Scotia. Global warming has risen the water temperature in Atlantic Canada. This has caused the lobster population to nearly double. Lobster harvesting in the Atlantic has become a $750 million industry. Total seafood exports from Nova Scotia is over $2 billion CAD. So go ahead, let warm butter dribble down your chin with every bite.

132 Peggys Point Rd, Peggys Cove, NS B3Z 3S2, Canada

10 Kidnapping of Shorty the Fisherman Statue in Peggy’s Cove, Canada

Peggy’s Cove is normally tranquil and law abiding. But in 2019, the citizens were traumatized by a heinous crime. This fisherman carving named Shorty was stolen! Top money of $200 was offered as a reward. Students from Dalhousie University soon solved the mystery. After a daring rescue from a fraternity house, they returned the life-size statue to owner Peter Richardson. In gratitude, he commissioned the creation of Mrs. Shorty. The happy couple stand in front of the Breakwater Inn and next to the lobster truck.

130 Peggys Point Rd, Peggys Cove, NS B3Z 3S2, Canada

11 Homes Encircling Peggy’s Cove, Canada

There are only about a dozen homes encircling Peggy’s Cove. That is because the population of this marvelous village is 30 to 35 people depending on the season. They relish their simple and quiet lifestyle. As the weather warms, the tourists arrive in droves. Each sightseeing bus disembarks more curious visitors than residents. An estimated 500,000 to 700,000 tourists make the trip to Peggy’s Cove each year. If living in Peggy’s Cove still seems enviable, good luck making that happen. These homes rarely sell. They stay in the family for generations. When a house does go on the market, it can easily fetch $1 million CAD.

128 Peggys Point Rd, Peggys Cove, NS B3Z 3S2, Canada

12 Fishing Trends in Peggy’s Cove, Canada

The lobster traps stacked beside the weathered fishing shed are not props. But today, only a handful of residents catch lobsters and mackerel for a living. That is a far cry from when the village reached its peak population of 300 and fishing was the mainstay. After WWII, improved technology and fleets of commercial vessels overwhelmed the solo fishermen while depleting the fish population. This led to government-imposed restrictions on boats, quota management and limited licensing. Today, the price of a lobster license runs between $700,000 and a million CAD. That is a huge barrier to entry for young fishermen. Today, the typical age of an independent fisherman in Nova Scotia is over 50 years old.

124 Peggys Point Rd, Peggys Cove, NS B3Z 3S2, Canada

13 Naming of Peggy’s Cove, Canada

This sheltered waterway is Peggy’s Cove. There are two theories of how the inlet and village were named. The historic version credits French explorer Samuel de Champlain, the Father of New France. During one of his voyages in the early 17th century, he christened the outlying bay Saint Margaret’s after his mother Marguerite. Of course, Peggy is a nickname for Margaret. A legend has a different explanation. In the late 18th century, a young girl was the only survivor of a shipwreck on Halibut Rock. Too young to know her name, her new family called her Peggy. As her tragic situation became famous locally, people began referring to her as Peggy of the cove.

30 Lobster Ln, Peggys Cove, NS B3Z, Canada

14 Accommodations in Peggy’s Cove, Canada

If you become enamored with Peggy’s Cove after a couple hour visit, consider staying for a few days or a week. No, there are no big hotels here. You’d be disappointed if there were. Instead, there is an inn, several B&Bs and cottages available. An example is the 100 year old white house with Adirondack chairs. Peggy’s Cove Cottage is rated five stars. This idyllic location on The Hill overlooks the charming cove.

6 Rocky Rd, Peggys Cove, NS B3Z 3R9, Canada

15 Fishermen’s Monument in Peggy’s Cove, Canada

Many tourists return to the parking lot near the lighthouse before reaching the Fishermen’s Monument. They miss seeing this labor of love by William E. deGarthe. He was born in Finland in 1907 and emigrated to Canada at 19 where he found work in Montreal. Within three years he moved to Nova Scotia. Between jobs as an illustrator and in advertising, he perfected his paintings portraying the coastline and the people who relied on the sea. He first visited Peggy’s Cove in 1931. In 1948, he bought a summer house here. It became permanent in 1955. 20 years later, he was inspired to create Fishermen’s Monument. The carving in granite depicts 32 fishermen and their families guarded by Saint Elmo, the patron saint of seafarers. The work was unfinished when deGarthe died in 1983. His adjacent home is now a museum displaying about 65 of his artworks.

109 Peggys Point Rd, Peggys Cove, NS B3Z 3S1, Canada

16 Visitor Information Centre in Peggy’s Cove, Canada

If you personally drive to Peggy’s Cove, you might want to stop at the Visitor Information Centre before proceeding into the village. The staff can answer questions, arrange for tours and provide maps of the area. The attached restroom can also be a welcome relief after a long drive. You can also park here and then follow this travel guide of Peggy’s Cove in reverse, ending at the lighthouse.

96 Peggys Point Rd, Peggys Cove, NS B3Z 3S2, Canada

17 Vibrant Ground Cover along Clam Pond in Peggy’s Cove, Canada

Before jumping back into your car at the Visitor Information Centre, take a minute to go to the end of the parking lot. This tranquil water is not a stream or river. This is tidal pool named Clam Pond. The ground cover is especially vibrant in the autumn. The red vegetation is the wild lowbrush blueberry plant. It is endemic to northeastern North America and can be found in all four provinces of Atlantic Canada.

96 Peggys Point Rd, Peggys Cove, NS B3Z 3S2, Canada

18 Geological Formation of Peggy’s Cove, Canada

Exquisite works of nature take time … lots of time. Peggy’s Cove is located at the southwestern edge of Chebucto Peninsula. The village is bordered by St. Margarets Bay to the west and the Atlantic Ocean seen here in the south. This rugged coastline primarily consists of large granite rock. They were formed about 400 million years ago when tectonic shifts allowed lava to flow up from the sea. They were carved, scraped and smoothed during a glacier period about 200,000 years ago. Final polishing has occurred during millenniums of pounding waves and howling winds.

96 Peggys Point Rd, Peggys Cove, NS B3Z 3S2, Canada