The Municipality of Clare’s newest tourism attraction – Cape Saint Mary Lighthouse Park – was officially opened during a July 5 ceremony.
Participants in the event included Clare Warden Ronnie LeBlanc, who said the park “showcases the natural beauty of our coastline and honours our region’s rich cultural heritage and its historical ties to the sea. It is a welcome addition to the municipality’s tourism infrastructure.”
The official opening was held in front of the park’s centrepiece, a monument bearing the names of people from Clare who lost their lives at sea.
The monument was a partnership project involving the Municipality of Clare, La Société acadienne de Clare, La Société historique acadienne de la Baie Sainte-Marie and the Centre acadien of Université Sainte-Anne.
Those attending the park’s opening ceremony included Marc Graff, the local sculptor who had been commissioned to carve the granite mariner that sits atop the monument.
“Fishing is inextricably linked to this area’s history,” said West Nova MP Colin Fraser, “so a monument honouring the courage and bravery of those who go to sea and never return is a poignant tribute. Along with other enhancements, this will encourage more visitors to discover the Cape Saint Mary lighthouse and its surrounding park.”
A good deal of work has been done at the site as part of the lighthouse park project, including repainting of the tower, replacement of the roof and replacement of vinyl siding with cedar shingles.
The chain-link fence along the cliff side of the property has been replaced with a nautical-style post and rope. The work also included the creation of a gravel parking lot accommodating over 30 vehicles.
A viewing scope has been installed, as well as a picnic shelter and tables.
The site also features interpretive panels providing information on various topics, including the lighthouse, local history and the area’s marine ecology.
There is still some landscaping to do and the plan is to put in some permanent toilets. A flagpole also we put up.
A bilingual website has been created (capsaintemarie.ca) showcasing a Nova Scotia webcam, a Facebook page, drone photography and a link for birdwatchers. A new community highway sign was installed this spring on Highway 101 near exit 32 promoting Mavillette Beach and the Cape Saint Mary lighthouse.