We all know the Peggy’s Cove lighthouse – but have you ever stopped to wonder who the heck this Peggy actually is?
You can ask 50 different people in this area about her and you’ll hear a variety of different stories, most of which originate with the name Margaret.
Did you know: The name Margaret has a variety of different nicknames. Some are obvious, as in Meg, Marg and Maggie, while others are downright strange, like Daisy. But over time, Meg & Maggie morphed into the rhymed forms Peg and Peggy – making peggy, widely known as a nickname for Margaret.
Saint Margaret’s Bay
The first recorded name of the cove was Eastern Point Harbour or Peggs Harbour in 1766. Many believe that the village is named after Saint Margaret’s Bay, which Samuel de Champlain named after his mother Marguerite.
Geographically speaking, Peggy’s Cove is located at the entrance to St. Margaret’s Bay. So the next theory is rather obvious; the cove was once known as Margaret’s Cove because of its location. When shortened, it became known as Peggy’s Cove.
Another theory derived after local artist William deGarthe wrote the book ‘This is Peggy’s Cove’, which tells the story of a woman named Margaret; the lone survivor of a shipwreck near Halibut Rock, just off the point on which the famous Peggy’s Cove lighthouse sits. The schooner washed ashore during a terrible storm on a very dark October night in the 1800’s, everyone on board was lost except for Margaret, who swam ashore and was finally rescued by the people on shore. Margaret stayed in the area, eventually marrying one of the local men. People from near-by places began to say, “let’s go see Peggy of the Cove,” and as such; Peggy’s Cove was born!
While deGarthe claims that Margaret was a young woman at the time of the shipwreck, another theory suggests that she was a toddler. Too young to remember her own name, the little girl from the ship was adopted by a local Nova Scotia family who decided to call her Peggy. When she grew older, she married a resident of the cove in 1800 and became known as “Peggy of the Cove”, attracting visitors from around the bay who eventually named the village Peggy’s Cove, after her nickname.
No matter how she got her name, one thing is for sure: Peggy’s Cove is a beautiful Nova Scotian treasure. We’re happy to know her – and be located 5 minutes down the road from her.