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Peggy's Cove in Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia — The Canadian Atlantic
 

A Monumental Work Of Art

 
 
A Monumental Work Of Art Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., July 25, 2017
1. A Monumental Work Of Art Marker
Inscription.

What would you do with a 30-metre (0.01-mile) outcrop of granite in your backyard? Artist William deGarthe decided to carve a work of art from the granite you see here.

In 1977, at the age of 70, deGarthe picked up his chisels and power tools and set out to, as he put it, 'release the figures sleeping in the rock for over 10 million years.' The figures he carved formed a monument to the hard-working fishermen of his adopted home - Peggy's Cove.

This labour of love proved to be a challenge because granite, being as hard as ordinary steel, is not an easy rock to work with. After all, even glaciers one kilometre (0.62 miles) thick could not reduce the granite bedrock of Peggy's Cove to sand. But after years of study and preparation, and some basic sketches, deGarthe began the project in September 1977. The first figure he carved was a fisherman braving a harsh North Atlantic wind. Over the next six years, he would carve 30 figures in this granite outcrop, helped by René Barrette and for two years (1981-1983) by resident Donald Crooks. People from the community also provided deGarthe with inspiration for many of the figures you see here, and all were carved from memory.

deGarthe grouped the figures into three distinct sections - Work, Bounty and Grace. [1] Work, the section on your right, shows local fishermen hard

A Monumental Work Of Art Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., July 25, 2017
2. A Monumental Work Of Art Marker
Fishermen's Monument in background
at work hauling nets, pulling a dory and using other tools of the trade to catch fish. The middle section, Bounty, celebrates the riches of the sea - the fish so essential to the survival of this community. The highlight here is the young woman carrying the basket. It's the famous 'Peggy,' [2] who some say inspired the name of this cove, just as her legend often inspired deGarthe. The section on the far left, Grace, [3] features a guardian angel watching over a fisherman and his family.

Sadly, deGarthe passed away in 1983 before he could complete this monument. What he left behind is a work of art that is as much a tribute to his considerable talent as it is to the community and people he dearly loved.

Artist In Profile
The small marble inset that you see on this granite outcrop is a portrait of William deGarthe and his wife, Agnes, created by the artist himself.

deGarthe's Concept Sketch
This sketch of the monument's humble beginnings is taken from one of the many sketch books included in the deGarthe Estate, which has been entrusted to the Province of Nova Scotia for preservation.

deGarthe Working On Monument
After sketching figures in the granite with dark oil paint, deGarthe drilled holes along the outline to weaken the rock. He then used chisels and other tools to reveal and refine his figures.

[1] Three

William E. deGarthe's Fishermen's Monument image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., July 25, 2017
3. William E. deGarthe's Fishermen's Monument
Distinct Sections
deGarthe grouped the figures into three distinct sections. Work shows local fishermen hard at work catching fish. Bounty celebrates the riches of the sea. Grace features a guardian angel watching over a fisherman and his family.

[2] Tragedy Of Peggy
Some people tell the tale of a young woman named Margaret who, after being rescued from a shipwreck, settled here and fell in love with one of her rescuers. Nicknamed Peggy, this legendary woman was a source of inspiration for deGarthe.

[3] Amazing "Grace"
A prototype for this section of the Fishermen's Monument can be found in the deGarthe Gallery.

Not Your Average "Joe"
Look closely at the Grace section on your left and you'll see a seagull carved in the rock. It's Joe, deGarthe's pet seagull.

deGarthe's Tools
deGarthe used a variety of chisels to carve the rock depending on how much granite he wanted to remove. The blades ranged in size from 3.2 centimetres (1.25 inches) to .6 centimetres (.25 inches). He used wide blades to carve away large pieces of granite and narrow blades to bring out the features of the figures.
 
Location. 44° 29.631′ N, 63° 54.851′ W. Marker is in Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, in Halifax Regional

William E. deGarthe's Fishermen's Monument - "Work" image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., July 25, 2017
4. William E. deGarthe's Fishermen's Monument - "Work"
Municipality. Marker is on Peggy's Point Road 0.4 kilometers south of Prospect Road (Nova Scotia Route 333), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Monument is at William E. DeGarthe Memorial Provincial Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 109 Peggy's Point Road, Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia B3Z 3S1, Canada.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fishermen's Monument (here, next to this marker); The Art of deGarthe (a few steps from this marker); A Natural Masterpiece (a few steps from this marker); The Lure of Peggy's Cove (within shouting distance of this marker); Home Sweet Home (within shouting distance of this marker); The Cold, Hard Facts About Glaciers (within shouting distance of this marker); When Continents Collide / Carving A Cove (within shouting distance of this marker); Peggy's Cove (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Peggy's Cove.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
 
Also see . . .
1. William E. deGarthe Bio. (Submitted on January 14, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. William E. deGarthe Art. (Submitted on January 14, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. William E. deGarthe Memorial Monument. (Submitted on January 14, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & VesselsWomen
 
William E. deGarthe's Fishermen's Monument - "Bounty" image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., July 25, 2017
5. William E. deGarthe's Fishermen's Monument - "Bounty"
William E. deGarthe's Fishermen's Monument - "Grace" image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., July 25, 2017
6. William E. deGarthe's Fishermen's Monument - "Grace"
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 14, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 14, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 78 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on January 14, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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