St. Margarets Bay, 70 km2, is a small inlet of the Atlantic Ocean on the SE coast of Nova Scotia, 40 km W of HALIFAX. It is a favourite summer resort area, noted especially for its relatively warm surface water, sandy beaches and ideal sailing conditions for small craft. The region also hosts a sizable tourist trade. Peggy's Cove, for instance, a tiny fishing village on the eastern side of the bay, is said to be the most photographed spot in the province.
The name stems from a name bestowed on the area by CHAMPLAIN: Le Port Sainte-Marguerite. In the early days smugglers were frequent visitors to the bay, selling contraband goods, including oil and fish. However, the primary industry was and remains fishing.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s St. Margarets Bay was used by marine scientists from the BEDFORD INSTITUTE OF OCEANOGRAPHY in Dartmouth, NS, as a field laboratory for studying the physical and biological processes underlying the productivity of COASTAL WATERS. Among the scientists' conclusions were that the observed counterclockwise circulation in the bay helps flush the bay waters every 10 to 30 days and that wind mixing in the surface layers controls primary-production efficiency.