People’s Archive of Rural Nova Scotia

Stories of Everyday Life, Everyday People

Lobster Fishers of Ballantyne’s Cove

Oct 22, 2018 | Land & Sea

– photos by Cassie MacGillivray and Kathryn Collicott

For two centuries, the people of Ballantyne’s Cove have lived their lives by the sea and made their living by the bounty of its waters.

Approximately 30 km north of the town of Antigonish, Ballantyne’s Cove was named after retired Scottish soldier David Ballantyne, who settled here in the early nineteenth century after receiving a land grant as a reward for military service.

The first breakwater was constructed in 1873, and the first pier was completed in 1875. In contrast to many small communities in Nova Scotia, the wharf and marina continue to be repaired and improved, and the Cove is still a landing site for commercial catches including lobster. More than twenty commercial boats list it as home port.

The men and women in the industry love what they do. It’s hard work and can be dangerous, but there is pride in a job well-done. Many learned the ropes as teenagers from their fathers, grandfathers, or uncles. These days, some learn from their mothers, as well.

In 2016, Cassie MacGillivray and I decided we wanted to take a snapshot in time, to preserve this way of life on film and on the internet – both as a record for future generations and as a tribute to those who have worked here for so long. It was a timely decision.

Thanks to everyone who finished a cold wet day on the water and then came to sit for photos! It wouldn’t have been the same without you. Special thanks to John, Chandra and Craig aboard the Game Changer for letting Cassie spend the day pointing a camera at you as you worked!

The sea calls, and we are grateful there are many who still answer.

– Kathryn Collicott

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