Description of Historic Place
The York Manuel Fish Shed and Store property is located in the centre of iconic fishing village Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia. Located directly on bedrock near the shore, this wooden fish shed and store were built about 1825. The buildings and property are included in the provincial designation.
The York Manuel Fish Shed and Store are valued as the oldest, largely unaltered, buildings of their type in the province, and as a type of inshore fishery building that is rapidly disappearing. They are also valued because they have become a distinctive landmark of Peggy's Cove and appear in the paintings of many noted Canadians, as well as postcards and other memorabilia.
The fish shed and store were built around 1825 and were owned by the Garrison family for the first hundred years. The property then came into the possession of the Manuel family through the marriage of a Garrison daughter into the Manuel family.
These two buildings were used to store freshly caught fish and fishing supplies. The wood shingled fish shed was the main workplace of Manuel family fisherman as the location where the fishermen would fix his nets, do small boat repairs and do other jobs necessary for fishing. The store was used for storing fish and is clad in traditional vertical wooden board.
During the rumrunning heyday of the 1920s, the fish shed and store were also used to hide kegs of rum, which was common in many of the small coves and inlets along the South Shore. Allegedly, at times local men would drill holes through the floor into the kegs and hold dishpans under them to catch the contraband rum.
After Peggy's Cove was discovered by artists early in the twentieth century, the property began to figure in the works of such painters as Stanley Royale, Arthur Lismer and J.E.H. MacDonald; the last two being members of the Group of Seven. The buildings continue to be among the most painted and photographed fishery buildings in Canada.
Both the fish shed and store are of one-and-a-half storey wood construction with steeply pitched gable roofs and six-over-six windows. Both are situated on wooden posts and secured to the bedrock below. This is a common and distinctive feature of buildings in the Peggy’s Cove glacial landscape, where topsoil is a scarcity.
Among the oldest, if not the oldest, remaining fisheries buildings of Nova Scotia and an iconic tourist attraction, the York Manuel fish shed and store symbolize a way of life that extends back to the very first settlements in the South Shore region.
Source: Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 128, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.
Character-defining elements of the York Manuel Fish Store buildings include:
- one-and-a-half storey wood construction;
- steeply pitched gable roof;
- wooden board cladding;
- six-over-six windows;
- structural elements allowing access to the water, including the dock and pilings;
- setting on wooden posts and secured to the rocks below the structure;
- prominent location near the head of Peggy's Cove complementary with surrounding buildings and built heritage features.