The Story of Holy Mackerel begins in the late 1800’s, when an original building of indeterminate purpose, sitting on this very lot, was blown away in a violent storm, a familiar theme that underpins much of the storied lore of Peggy’s Cove.
The lot Holy Mackerel currently stands on has a long mixed use history as a cultural hub and gathering place in Peggy’s Cove, including a short period as Peggy’s Cove Tea Room and Craft Shop, operated by artists Grace Whiten and Marion Johnston in the 1930’s. Following that it was purchased by William de Garthe, the Finnish artist who many consider to have written the book on Peggy’s Cove, and who established the property as an art gallery. It too was badly damaged in a storm, and subsequently demolished. The new deGarthe art gallery can be found across the road and a few doors up.
The building Holy Mackerel resides in today was constructed in the 1970’s as Beale’s Bailiwick, established by the family of John Beale when he purchased a lot of buildings including the red Schoolhouse and what would become the Beale family home. Beale’s Bailiwick offered gifts, art supplies and featured a coffee shop that was a town staple for the entirety of it’s lifetime.
In keeping with the local spirit of reuse and preservation of artisanal craftsmanship, Holy Mackerel maintains this structure as it has been for the previous several decades. Despite 2009’s massive Hurricane Bill shifting the structure’s balance, Holy Mackerel and other local structures continue to withstand the brunt of many extreme weather events Peggy’s Cove often endures.