Extra Research for Season 6 – Episode 12 – Return of Lucky
St. Margaret’s Bay
Peggy’s Cove is a fishing community located south of Halifax on the eastern side of St. Margaret’s Bay where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. The bay itself was named after Samuel de Champlain’s (1567-1635) mother Marguerite (Le Roy) Champlain. Samuel was a cartographer, and the bay, indicated on his 1612 map, shows it as St. Marguerite Baie.
It is said that the narrow cove that leads into the bay was most likely named after William Rodgers wife. William was an Irish immigrant to the area around 1770. Land Grants indicate that he had settled on a small lot of land he had purchased along St. Margaret’s Bay. Sadly, no historical evidence of a Peggy connected to the community exists. Peggy has often been used as a nickname for Margaret.
Peggy of Peggy’s Cove
A gentleman named Ivan Fraser is the caretaker of the Peggy of the Cove Museum and legend. The museum is in Ivan’s childhood home and displays many paintings and antiques. He is also the author of the Peggy of the Cove’s books detailing her rescue. These books and the mural he painted were inspired by a photo he took of a wave splashing up on the rocks at Peggy’s Cove that had a woman’s silhouette in it.
Another version of Peggy of Peggy’s Cove is a tale written by a local artist named William deGarthe (1907-1983). He wrote a story of a schooner shipwrecked on Halibut Rock in the mid-1800s. The ship ran aground and lost all souls save a young woman named Margaret. She survived the shipwreck and stayed in the area and married one of the local men. It was not long before visitors started to refer to the area as Peggy’s Cove. Halibut Rock has a flat surface and lies slightly below the surface of the water making it a hazard to any ship.
Swissair Flight 111
On 2 September 1998, Swissair Flight 111 was on its way from New York City, USA to Geneva, Switzerland with 226 passengers and crew. It crashed off Peggy’s Cove, killing all souls on board. There were over 20 nationalities on board. The people died instantly, and the fuselage shattered into several million pieces. A rescue effort was immediately launched by several local boaters in the area. The Canadian Navy and Coast Guard soon joined them but other than debris and bodies, no survivors were found. Residents also spent days combing the shoreline for any sign of debris.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigated and in 2003 announced that faulty wiring that ignited flammable insultation above the cockpit was the cause of the crash. Swissair went under in 2001 with a debt of 17 billion Swiss francs, or $13 billion (US).
Two memorials sites have been set up to honour the people who died that day. The first one is in Bayswater where many of the body parts recovered after the crash are buried. It is engraved with the names of the dead and the epitaph: “They have been joined to the sky and the sea.” The second memorial is in Whalesback where it looks out to the crash site.
— Joanne Schiavoni
Photo Credit: The marina at Peggy’s Cove on the eastern shores of St. Margaret’s Bay in Nova Scotia, Canada [taken by Scott Lee and is in the Public Domain]