Picnic near Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

This photo has three words penciled on the back: Near Peggy’s Cove.  The fishing village of Peggy’s Cove, and nearby Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, are about an hour from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

I’ve never been to the province of Nova Scotia, but my mother has a connection to it–of sorts.  Her mother was adopted, as a newborn, by a childless couple in Buffalo, New York.  A few years ago, my mother decided to take a DNA test, to see if she might learn something about her mother’s birth parents.  When she received her results, we were genuinely shocked to see that her closest matches were from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  Further research led us to conclude that her grandmother was probably American, while her grandfather was almost certainly from Cape Breton.

We’re going to get up there one of these days.

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia 2

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia 3

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia 4

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia 5
Maybe it was Father’s Day?


If you have five minutes to spare, you might enjoy this video showing some of the beauty of Nova Scotia, including Peggy’s Point Lighthouse (visible below, and at 0:51) and Peggy’s Cove (1:26).  It’s worth watching until the very end.  The filmmaker, Victor Chu, begins with this narration:

“When I was twelve, I saw a tour book of Canada laying on my father’s desk.  In it, the chapters on Nova Scotia were highlighted and underlined.  ‘Nova Scotia,’ he uttered, when he was in a good mood.  ‘Enjoy life,’ he also liked to say.

He loved to travel, and his passion for photography enhanced his journeys.  However, in 2007 he was diagnosed with stage four cancer.  Sadly, he never went to Nova Scotia.

This film is dedicated to him.”



40 thoughts on “Picnic near Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

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  1. Nova Scotia is breathtakingly beautiful. The glorious sun, the waves, and the woods. I enjoyed the video very much.

    Great to hear that your mother has a connection to this beautiful place. ✨

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The photo is interesting. I particularly like the little boy sitting on the man’s shoulders, covering his ear with his hand! I also hope you find out more about your grandmother’s parents. It sounds an interesting story and it’s so amazing that we now have to tools to unravel those kinds of family mysteries.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The little boy horsing around always makes me smile! The little girl to his right also has a sweet expression.

      We honestly didn’t expect to learn much from that first DNA test, in 2016. It was quite a surprise. Since then we’ve corresponded with distant cousins in four states and two Canadian provinces.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. They are all dressed up – for an outdoor picnic – and not many smiling. It is so strange to see these old photos and wonder what the people were actually like. 🙂
    And it is amazing just how much DNA tests can reveal.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Now that you have a Cape Breton connection it would be wonderful to be able to visit.
    The video was beautiful! I wonder how this group of people are related. A family reunion or a club outing? And I wonder why most of them are not smiling.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I also wondered what connected them to each other. My first thoughts were family reunion or church group, but neither guess feels right. Where were they from? After publishing the post, I realized the photo was probably taken 10-20 years before the lighthouse was built (1915). If the photo was taken in the 1890s, did they arrive by ship? Lots of questions! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I was very excited to see this photo of Peggy’s Cove! My maternal grandmother’s family is from Economy Point, two hours south from Peggy’s Cove. I have several family picnicking photos from the same time period. My mother and I visited Economy Point in 2007, and my husband and I visited in 2017. The country is just as beautiful as everyone is saying! We’re eager to go back.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My mother actually made it to Peggy’s Cove on a group tour some years after my father’s death. Her report was the same: indescribably beautiful.

    In the photos, I’m struck by the number of flat straw (?) hats. I’m wondering if those were general fashion at the time, or a reflection of Cape Breton culture. And there are a few smiles here and there. In the second photo, the woman shown standing, farthest to the left, has a Puckish smile on her face. Perhaps whatever’s in the glass in her hand contributed to it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, so many interesting hats! I’m not sure when straw boaters were in style, or if they went in and out at different times. They were popular in the States as well. One photo on the blog, possibly taken in Arkansas, contains five young women in straw boaters very similar to these. Unfortunately, it isn’t dated. (https://tokensofcompanionship.blog/2017/10/03/in-boater-hats-and-bow-ties-in-arkansas/)

      I realized this morning that I neglected to mention in the post that Peggy’s Cove is shown in the video, at 1:26. It’s a gorgeous shot, coming in toward the docks. The harbor looks impossibly serene.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. What a fantastic photo! They all look devastatingly cool in their getups. Also, what a fascinating family story! Finding answers about family and putting those pieces together can be so exhilarating and rewarding. I’m excited for you and your upcoming pilgrimage!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Our DNA trip has been pretty amazing! We have a solid lead on a possible father for my grandmother. One of my mother’s second-cousin matches had a great-uncle who moved to Upstate New York from Cape Breton. On the maternal line, we had a breakthrough using mtDNA (a second-cousin autosomal match with exact mtDNA). The pieces aren’t all in place yet, but it feels like we’re getting close.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh, I love this photo, Brad. What a wonderful find! One of my favourite themes is picnics and people eating. Which leads me to wonder what they’re eating? And what is that child up to climbing on his dad or other relative’s shoulders?
    It must be wonderful knowing that some of your family may have come from such a wonderful place, too. (Also wonderful fitting together bits of the puzzle. My maternal grandfather was an orphan and we know very little about him, certainly nothing about his parents or ancestors.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Who knows what they’re eating, haha! It may have been a wonderful place on a beautiful summer day, but I suspect life there was pretty hard 100+ years ago. So many young people left. I’ve found record after record of women moving to Boston or men moving to factory work in places like Chicago.

      Have you considered DNA testing, Val? You can get tested for around $70 during the frequent sales. The results might surprise you!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. According to my mother and her mother, Velma Jane, life was very hard on the farm in Nova Scotia. Velma, her brother Fred, and their two aunts, Etta and Jen, all emigrated to Massachusetts.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. One of my mother’s “new” cousins, who lives in Massachusetts, told us that his father’s father worked in the coal mines in Nova Scotia, but didn’t want his son to have that life, so he encouraged him to emigrate. I wonder if that was hard for them, or if the son was eager to leave, the way young people often are. (How many of us want to stay in the town where we grew up?)

        I look forward to reading the posts you linked to above, Liz. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Life was certainly much harder in the ‘olden days’. But people have always moved around this world… going to places that might offer them better work, better conditions. It’s always a wonder to me when they end up in worse places.

        No, I’m not really interested in DNA testing. In some ways I’m happy not knowing.

        Liked by 2 people

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