A several hour drive from where I am, Peggy’s Cove has got to be the biggest tourist attraction outside of Metro Halifax in Nova Scotia. I mean, I don’t know anything about this province but even I know there’s a lighthouse and it’s worth seeing. Was it worth it? Yes.
Even though Peggy’s Cove lost the post office in the lighthouse in 2009, they’re still going strong, pulling in thousands of tourists a year. Tons of small cottages, traditionally used by fisherman are being bought up and redone. Though initially it was required that the buildings maintain heritage values – certain materials and regulations need be followed – a blind eye is being turned to some of the newer vinyl sidings and paint jobs. I suppose the official view is that it would be better to have these places owned and occupied than dilapidated and caving in on themselves, as was the state of several suites just a few years ago.
The biggest thing on the rocks has got to be the multi-storey mega restaurant where the lighthouse post office was moved to. It had a fresh paved parking lot full of tour buses and license plates from distant lands. We didn’t go in, but it looked like the kind of place that’s always busy and charges an arm and a leg for a lobster tail.
It seems most buildings are being flipped for a profit and I can’t imagine the For Sale signs ever leave the sidewalk. The hubbub of Peggy’s Cove – other than the lighthouse – centers on several shops specifically for tourists. There’s an espresso bar (charging around $5 for a latte) with souvenirs as well as an artisan creating pewter gifts. A darkened store contained boxes of foreign shipments of ‘souvenirs’ was closed when we showed up. I could swear some of the same window hanging ornaments found there were also on sale at Granville Island across the country.
The tiny strip of overpriced capitalism aside, the seascape is beautiful. Between the ocean-smoothed rocks – occasionally pegged by survey markers – and the ocean itself, I couldn’t help but take a million photographs. It’s almost impossible to convey the size of the spray from some of these waves without someone standing in the shot for reference. The lighthouse was probably the hardest thing to get a clear shot of, seeing as how there were at least 100 other people all crowded around it trying to do the same. Miraculously, a horde cleared just as we arrived and I got a couple of shots sans strangers.
Probably the nicest man you could meet down there runs a little shop selling all sorts of shells, buoys and other scavenged ship curios, and his family have been there since the early settling of the Cove. He had among other things, a jaw bone from a fin whale that was almost the length of the shack. As far as I can tell, his family helped run Peggy’s Cove’s post office before it was shut down due to mold in 2009. He, like many others, seems disappointed at the new money that’s changing the landscape. It seems that even though 40-odd people live there year round, the tourists and the profits they funnel in are what’s got the biggest say in the future of Peggy’s Cove.