More than just a gift shop

Fisherman's Cove Heritage Centre also offers a museum, new exhibit




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Fisherman's Cove is certainly best known for its quaint colourful huts, each attracting shoppers with a wide variety of gifts, crafts, candy and pet supplies. But there is another attraction in the cozy Eastern Passage district: The Fisherman's Cove Heritage Centre. “This place used to be called the Marine Interpretive Centre,” says Michelle Carbotte, Fisherman's Cove's business manager. “It's used for multiple functions so we have public washrooms. It's used as a visitors centre and when people come in, we have two big racks of different kinds of information, pamphlets and brochures for tourists of what they want to see and do all around the province.” Along with a gift shop, a working kitchen and available event space, Fisherman's Cove's main building is certainly more than just a place to gather pamphlets. In fact, the heritage centre also boasts an engaging local museum which is often overlooked by many who come to Fisherman's Cove. “I just had a lady in here who said, ‘I live in this area and I've never been in this building. I never realized there was a museum in here,” laughs Carbotte. “Our theme is basically nautical and anything that came from the harbour and this area.” With most items donated by local residents, the free museum contains examples of birds and sea life from the area, nautical displays, photos from Eastern Passage's rich history and the museum's popular Merhorse — a large replica dedicated to the mythology of sea serpents sighted in the area throughout history. However, Carbotte is most excited about the museum's upcoming attraction: the First Fishers Exhibit. “The First Fishers were here for 200 years so Mi'kmaw used this actual land that we are sitting on as their summer camp every year,” says Carbotte of the upcoming tribute to the Indigenous peoples who fished in Eastern Passage. A project that has been in development since before the pandemic, the First Fishers Exhibit will be comprised of two main pieces of artwork. “One is going to be four painted panels representing the four different seasons,” explains Carbotte of the display being created by Mi'kmaq artist Chelsea Brooks. “Then she is going to be creating a display of 10 eagle feathers — each one painted with the name, in Mi'kmaw, of an area that they held in Nova Scotia.” The First Fishers Exhibit will be completed with a map in both Mi'kmaw and English as well as a wall of panels outlining the Indigenous history of the area. While that exhibit is expected to be ready by July 1, the heritage centre has expansion plans that go even beyond this year. Carbotte says they are planning to add on to the building in order to create an exclusive room for the centre's extensive collection of paintings by local artist Clyde Henneberry. “Henneberry is a big name down here,” says Carbotte, about the late artist's Eastern Passage focused paintings. Although Carbotte admits the gallery expansion is still a couple years away, much of Henneberry's art is currently on display at the heritage centre. “We have signed, limited editions as well as a bunch of other ones,” continues Carbotte. “You should see some of this stuff, you would think it's a photograph - but it's not!” For more information, visit: