Peggys Cove, N.S.: Development troubles in paradise

Posted on December 19, 2023 | By Stephen Kimber | 1 Comment

Clashing personalities, a community in transition, competing developments… a perfect storm is brewing in picture-perfect Peggys Cove


We’ll begin our tour of Peggys Cove–Nova Scotia’s combination postcard-perfect lighthouse, traditional fishing village and world-renowned tourist attraction—at the spot where such tours often begin: the tip of the recently completed $3.1-million public boardwalk and viewing deck.

The view is spectacular—iconic Peggys Point lighthouse, maybe the most photographed in the world, thrusting skyward out of gigantic heaving granite boulders. Beyond them, the ominous blue-black of the Atlantic Ocean stretching out to forever beneath a hovering slate grey sky.

On this relatively calm late September day, gaggles of tourists, some from cruise-ship bus tours, cavort on the rocks, heedless of the red and orange DANGER signs— “Death Has Occurred Here… Don’t Take Risks… Leave Here Alive”—taking selfies and/or simply staring into the crashing waves, pondering the always capricious, ever-dangerous whims of Mother Nature.

Mother Nature, some residents will tell you, isn’t the only capricious force at work in this cove.

Turn back to your left, and you’ll see the almost as iconic Sou’Wester Restaurant and Gift Shop at 178 Peggys Point Road. What began nearly 60 years ago as a five-table tearoom is now a 180-seat restaurant featuring a sea-caught menu of Maritime delights from fish chowder to boiled lobster. The elongated, two-storey, dormer-roofed, grey-like-the-sky building that houses the restaurant also boasts a two-level gift shop with “one of the Maritimes’ largest selections of giftware.” Many of this year’s nearly three-quarters-of-a-million tourists to the Cove will almost certainly begin or end their visit with a stop at the Sou’Wester.

The Sou’Wester, unusual for such a venerable tourism business, is still run by the family of its founder, Jack Campbell. Remember the Campbell name. It won’t be the last time you hear it.

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