Dartmouth Stories and Tips

Fisherman's Cove

Captain Mike Photo, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Fishermens Cove is located in Eastern Passage, about 15 minutes from downtown Dartmouth. At one time, fishermen (including my uncles) had their boat houses here and stored bait, tools, etc. There are still some private boat houses but most of the area is now filled with small replica buildings that house shops and restaurants.

There are picnic tables throughout the site and a wooden boardwalk that allows for a waterside stroll. As well as a large restaurant called "Boondocks", there is a Subway and an Irish tea room. The stores carry typical tourist merchandise - souvenirs of Nova Scotia, post cards, Saltwater taffy, books, etc. but it’s fun to wander through the small shops and stop for a snack or meal.

Some of the boat houses are still used to store fishing equipment and there are lobster pots stacked along the wharf. At the end of the wharf, Mike Tilley operates Harbour Island ferries and offers transportation to Lawlors, McNabs or Devil’s Islands.

Mike is easy to spot with his red beard, fisherman’s cap and white rubber boats and he is a wealth of information on the area.

McNabs is the most popular destination and will be designated as a provincial park before the end of the year. Some people have summer cottages here and there are camping facilities and lots of hiking trails. Lawlors is home to wildlife including deer and osprey.

My sister and I visited Devil’s Island which is the farthest away but holds a special significance. Our mother’s family lived here in the early 1900s and she was born on the island. It’s very small - only about 1 mile in length but at one time, over 100 people lived here, mostly fishermen and their families. It is now totally deserted, except for a coast guard operated lighthouse that has seen better days. It’s now home to gulls and brown ducks who have their nests here and we came across lots of eggs that were getting ready to hatch.

The island’s name is attributed to a number of stories. Some say it is named after one of the first settlers, a Frenchman named Deval. Others say it is because people who came here said "why the devil would anyone want to live here?" and another version talks about a card game with the devil. I think the first option is the most likely but the others make for an interesting story.

Continual ferry service to McNabs is $12.00 return. Devil’s is $20.00 return but must be booked in advance and is contingent on weather and tides since there is no wharf and Mike has to land in a small cove.

Fisherman’s Cove is open 7 days a week and there is plenty of free parking.

Fisherman's Cove - 200 Government Wharf Road, Eastern Passage (902) 465 6093 FAX (902) 465 6899

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