In the regions of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, there are thousands of fishing villages still active, each with its own charm and style.
Fishing is one of the foremost industries in Canada, generating billions in exports every year. Most of it comes from the Atlantic coast, well know for its lobster, snow crab and fresh salmon.
Lobster is a relatively recent luxury item. In the early 20th century, they were regarded as "The insects of the sea" and would only be consumed by the poorest families. Today, you can find it anywhere in the region, in lobster rolls or simply boiled. The best seasons for lobster are Spring and Autumn.
The most famous fishermen village of Atlantic Canada is Peggy's Cove. The 40 minutes journey from Halifax is worth the trip in itself: the coast is formed of thousands of coves, creating idyllic viewpoints with small cabins and boats. The village is built on rocks eroded by ancient glaciers and the sea into large round shapes. A tall white and red lighthouse guides boats along this dangerous littoral. Despite the influx of tourists, the village remains authentic and there are still a dozen fishermen. Take time to visit the Antiques shop. Its owner is a 60 years old local fishermen who gathered antiques related to the sea throughout his life: 1930s glass-made floaters, whale bones, nets, etc. The best museum about a fisherman's life in Atlantic Canada you could find.
On the other side of Halifax, there is the well-named village of Fisherman's Cove, just 15 minutes from Dartmouth. Its colored houses are now mostly used as restaurants and souvenir shops but it does give a good impression of what the life of the first European settlers must have been like 200 years ago. Despite the rising prices and international demand for seafood, many villages are in decline. Fishing is a hard physical job and only brings revenue for a part of the year, the sea being from frozen from November to March in most places. Many youngsters have left their hometown, attracted by the quality of life in large cities or by the money to be made in petrol in the West. Some communities manage to keep on, boosted by the arrival of tourism and city dwellers looking to buy a second homes by the sea. But there are few infrastructures in place to help the more isolated villages and their future seems compromised. All the more reasons to visit before this way of life disappears!