A lot more people are enjoying the beauty of the Cape Forchu Lighthouse, thanks to a webcam installed last summer.
Operations manager Denise Nickerson is jubilant over the number of views and comments on the host site: Nova Scotia Webcams.
“I’ve seen posts on the site from people near and far, who have never been to the Light, excited about coming to see what this camera is capturing; 229,423 hits from July 8 to Dec. 31 is quite impressive…a number that would have been extremely difficult to reach by other means,” she said.
Nickerson says she received an email from Ralf Pickart, the creator of Nova Scotia Webcams, saying a recent morning screen capture of the lighthouse was the most ‘shared’ picture since they created the NS Webcams Facebook page.
“The webcam has been an advertising gem for us, captivating the viewer almost right away; something you may not always be able to do with an ad. When you advertise, there is often no second chance of making a good first impression; the webcam is able to give that “Wow” factor almost immediately, unless there is fog of course,” she said.
Another benefit of the webcam is its cost effectiveness and 24-7 promotion.
Even though it’s off-season for the Light, the webcam keeps the facility in people’s minds. Nickerson says she feels it’s her role now to keep people excited about what they see on the camera.
For Halloween she had a 500-pound pumpkin brought in (“cheap, but effective”) and for Christmas, 28 wooden lobster pots formed a Christmas tree.
Dumping Day, with the sight of dozens of brightly lit lobster boats leaving the harbour also drew large numbers to the website.
She’s thinking now about Valentine’s Day decorations and is requesting the public’s help.
Pickart says the concept behind Nova Scotia Webcams in general is to show Nova Scotia's 'hidden' treasures. It’s working well with Yarmouth’s lighthouse.
“Even if Cape Forchu Light is not a secret place, we have seen many comments from locals asking, "Where is that?”
“Our cameras encourage people to get to know other places of the province, first online and finally in person,” he said.
Because of the ever-changing scenery, visitors return on a regular basis.
Pickart says the website has become very popular over the past year. It now features 50 cameras from Yarmouth to Cape Breton with more on the way.
“With more than 12 million page views, the site generates more traffic than novascotia.com and has become an important tool of tourism marketing in the province,” he said.
"Top 10 List" of the most popular N.S. webcams
2. Halifax Waterfront
3. Peggy's Cove Lighthouse
4. Hall's Harbour
5. Halifax Pier 21
6. White Point Beach
7. Cape Forchu
8. Bluenose II Bow View
9. Halifax Maritime Museum
This list is based on the time span from when the Cape Forchu webcam went live (July 8 until Dec. 31, 2011).