Halifax History September 17, 2016

The TRUE Story of Peggy of the Cove

Peggy’s Cove is an iconic destination and its lighthouse sitting out on Peggy’s Point is a must-see attraction. Visitors love the area, including for its quaint fishing village, the beautiful lighthouse and the smooth, wave-sculpted granite rocks.

Although the lighthouse has had hundreds of thousands of visitors, few people know the story behind Peggy’s Cove, including who Peggy was and why the lighthouse and surrounding village were named for her.

Read on for answers to these questions and more!

The Peggy of the Cove Museum is located in an old house just before Peggy’s Cove and is painted from top to bottom with a beautiful mural by Ivan Fraser. Fraser is the caretaker of the museum and of the Peggy of the Cove legend. The museum is located in Ivan’s childhood home and is full of paintings from local artists and antiques.

 

peggy of the cove museumPeggy of the Cove

Ivan is a vivacious character and full of love for Peggy of the Cove, and the town itself! The grounds of the museum have a playground, a giant lobster trap, a painted rainbow tree, and other fun photographic props!

Inside the museum, Ivan showed us what inspired him to write the books, Peggy of the Cove. He explains to visitors that at the tail end of Hurricane Josephine in 1996, Ivan took a photograph of a wave splashing up on the rocks at Peggy’s Cove. In the wave was the silhouette of a woman. This photograph inspired Ivan to paint a painting called the Rescue of Peggy and write the story of her rescue.


The legend of Peggy’s Cove has two versions.

VERSION 1:

The first is perhaps rather obvious; the cove was once known as Margaret’s Cove because of its location at the entrance to St. Margaret’s Bay.

When abbreviated, it becomes Peggy’s Cove, an area known the world-over for its scenic beauty, attracting visitors from near and far.

VERSION 2:

The second version of the Peggy’s Cove legend is more exciting, although admittedly less practical. This tale explains that the name originated from a book ‘This is Peggy’s Cove,’ by local artist William deGarthe.

deGarthe wrote a story of a Schooner that was shipwrecked on Halibut Rock, just off the point on which the famous lighthouse sits. He describes the ship running aground, losing everything except for a young woman named Margaret.

Margaret survived the wreck and stayed in the area, eventually marrying one of the local men. Before long, visitors began to refer to the area as ‘Peggy’s Cove’.

Ivan has written three novels, a children’s book and a song about Peggy of the Cove. His wife has created dolls for the main characters in the book, and there are tributes to Peggy all over the museum.

Ivan masterfully mixes his own stories of growing up  in Peggy’s Cove with the stories of Peggy and how she came to be in the area after her shipwreck.

 


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