Develop Nova Scotia: Authentic Destinations

Authentic Destinations

A visitor experience for everyone.

Ask Canadians across the country what destinations are on their bucket list, and there’s a pretty good chance Peggy’s Cove is on it. The granite rocks, crashing waves, lighthouse, and active fishing village combine to create a place that captures people’s attention and imaginations. Until recently, this landmark community was near impossible to navigate for people with mobility challenges or disabilities, and children in strollers.

Develop Nova Scotia has been working closely with the community of Peggy’s Cove since 2018 to co-create an Infrastructure Improvement Strategy for the community that focused on increased safety, accessibility, and sustainability for locals and visitors.


Go and see Peggy’s Cove—that’s how it should be done. It’s a standard that’s been set here. I have to compliment Develop Nova Scotia because of the way they managed this as well. The whole process was such a community-engaged process. It included people from the community, obviously, but also the disability community. We were very much involved in the design—even during construction we were invited out to test things. And there were quite a few change orders because they listened to us and acted.

Gerry Post, Accessibility Advocate

Construction for the first phase of infrastructure improvements began in Fall 2020 and extended into 2021-2022. The new Peggy’s Cove Viewing Deck—a key piece of the Infrastructure Improvement Strategy focused on creating a safe and accessible visitor experience—was completed and opened to the public in the Fall of 2021.

We continued to work with community and partners to operate the provincially-owned properties in Peggy’s Cove and steward smaller-scale projects alongside the gradual return of visitation. These projects included the release and award of a Business Development Opportunity for the deGarthe Studio that is in keeping with community history and creates a new place for small business to thrive in the heart of the village; a modest renovation to the deGarthe Garage to support and enable community uses and events; and a signage program focused on wayfinding that will also support future safety and interpretation programs.

For new and recent visitors though, the viewing deck has been the star of the show.

This curving, organic structure is constructed of natural wood and netting that visually and functionally blends with the natural environment while providing safe and easy access to a viewing deck that makes the experience of this special coastline accessible to everyone. It is a game-changer for Peggy’s Cove and strives to set a standard for what an accessible tourism site should be. That’s why we’re proud that the Peggy’s Cove lighthouse achieved a Gold rating through the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ (RHFAC) program in 2022. As the only site in Atlantic Canada to achieve this rating, this marks a new opportunity for all Canadians to experience the gorgeous site, including and especially the 6.2 million who live with a disability.

Looking ahead, we’ll continue to work with the community to implement a second phase of community engagement, design, and development that will address deficiencies and advance minor improvement projects. And the Peggy’s Cove experience will continue to improve—for everyone.

A capital experience
made even better.

As the home base for many on their Nova Scotia adventures, Halifax should offer experiences that set the tone for further discovery—an authentic, diverse, and memorable place. And with the Halifax waterfront as the most-visited destination in the province, our work to steward and redevelop the waterfront on behalf of all Nova Scotians is guided by this vision.


Queen’s Marque District

This mixed-use development replaced a place for cars (a surface parking lot) with a distinct place for people to gather, live, stay, work, and play. The Queen’s Marque district is composed of residential, office, hotel, local retail, and restaurants, and includes 100,000 sf of new public space and three new public wharves.


Cable Wharf

Recapitalization of the Cable Wharf Building and Plaza has provided a vibrant place for people to gather and a strengthened platform for a local business to grow and enhance their offerings. Now complete, this project adds a breath of fresh air to an already popular destination.


Acadia Wharf

This project improves the experience of museum goers and waterfront visitors with enhanced access to CSS Acadia, increased opportunities for activation and in-water programming by Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. This work included the construction of an 18-metre long extension and electrical and water servicing work.


Georges Island

The Wharf revitalization project, funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia, helped to open this Halifax Harbour destination up to visitors. The full opening of the Island and operationalization of the new infrastructure was delayed due to COVID-19 but in Summer 2021


CUNARD development

A $100M private investment in a mixed-use residential and retail development is currently under construction on the waterfront. Over the next year, Develop Nova Scotia will finalize the public space design with a focus on inclusive play through ongoing deep and diverse community engagement and design development and refinement.


Foundation Wharf

Three end-of-life piers were removed and replaced with two new piers, new floating docks have been added to support our growing marina visitation program, and an expanded boardwalk area provides a dynamic new place to gather, and a prime location for flexible event kiosks that create opportunities for businesses across Nova Scotia to pop up.


Merry and bright, with economic impact.

Evergreen Festival

Evergreen Festival is a 4-week-long showcase of Nova Scotia’s culture, food, spirits, craft, art, and memorable winter experiences. Local retailers, restaurants, hotels, attractions, and outdoor public spaces throughout the Halifax region offer holiday light displays and festive programming to boost spirits and business. November and December used to be a quieter time in the downtown, but Evergreen gives people a boatload of reasons to get outside and connect with community. And businesses throughout the downtown core felt the economic impact, too. The Halifax waterfront vendor village alone generated over $170k in sales for small, Nova Scotia-run businesses.

The festival is a collaborative effort between partners, including Discover Halifax, Develop Nova Scotia, Halifax Regional Municipality, Jazz East Rising, and corporate sponsors that participate in support of various charities. It is a showcase of incredible local talent and a platform for business, with community spirit and gathering at its core. The collective contributions of communities bring illuminations, programming, and events to life throughout the region, and has the potential to be a key tourism driver for Nova Scotia for years to come.


Partnerships +

Public spaces become great places when they’re activated with and for community. Develop Nova Scotia has been working with community and local organizations across Nova Scotia to create accessible waterfront activations that welcome diverse communities, bring people together, and give people a reason to enjoy one another’s company—especially given the year of isolation we’ve all had.

Over the past year, we helped activate the Lunenburg and Halifax waterfronts with a range of high-quality, accessible experiences and programming to engage people and drive year-round visitation.

We partner with the local business community to program signature events like Open City and the Evergreen Festival; important community events like Orange Shirt Day and the Weekend of Reconciliation, both led by our friends at the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre; art and cultural experiences like Paint Peggy’s Cove and Lunenburg Doc Fest; and community-building partnerships like our leadership and sponsorship on the annual Art of City Building conference and our support of the launch of Msit No’Kmaq. These are a few of the key events that drove traffic, supported economic recovery, and built community in 2021-2022. These are reasons to celebrate, learn from one another, grow as a community, and simply have a good time together.


Destination Development
via Infrastructure Stimulus