September 27 (Part 4) – Digby to Wolfville – Gilbert’s Cove, Baie Sainte Marie and Church Point

Texting with our neighbours back home gave us a few ideas of what to see in the area, while we awaited Linda and Lloyd’s arrival on the Digby ferry. Jeannine from across the street had been born and raised near Digby and suggested a few stops we might enjoy.

Our first stop was at the Gilbert’s Cove lighthouse. The lighthouse was in service from 1904-1972, but is now a tourist destination. You can climb up to the light and the Friends of Point Prim sell local crafts and operate a small snack counter.

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Our next stop was Église St. Bernard, where we were blown away by the size of this church. Construction started in 1910. The parish did not wish to incur any debt and spread the construction out over 32 years. Over 8,000 blocks of Shelbourne granite were used in its construction. The inside walls required 96 tonnes of plaster to complete. The last plaster coat was roughed up with a wooden trowel and scored before it set to make it look like stone.DSC04380DSC04383DSC04384DSC04385DSC04387DSC04388DSC04390

Our last stop was at Church Point, which seemed a fitting name for the place where the church with one of the largest wooden steeples in North America was located. Construction of Église Sainte Marie started in 1903. The church is built in the shape of a cross and the nave measures 58 meters (190 feet) in length with transepts 41 meters (135 feet) across. The spire rises up 56 meters (184 feet) with the cross adding another 1.67 m (5.5 feet). The steeple was originally 4.5 meters (15 feet) taller, but part of it had to be rebuilt in 1914 due to a lightning strike. The turrets around the steeple give it a European look. 36 tonnes (40 tons) of ballast stabilize the steeple against the strong winds in the area. 3 bronze bells from France are in the steeple, the largest weighing  1,760 pounds (800 kg). The interior of the church is cover in canvas, rather than plaster.

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