Once again, fishing communities along Nova Scotia’s South Shore will be decking waterfronts with boughs of lobster traps and buoys in celebration of both the lobster fishery and the upcoming holiday season.
In the Municipality of Barrington, the 13th annual lobster pot Christmas tree, which stands on the North East Point waterfront adjacent to the Cape Sable Island Causeway, will be lit for the season on Nov. 24. The tree lighting kicks off the lighting of all holiday lighting in the Municipality of Barrington and will be followed by fireworks “which we haven’t seen for a few years at the causeway,” says Suzy Atwood, director of marketing and tourism development for the Municipality of Barrington.
“Every year we add more buoys to the tree and more stories get told with the addition of the new ones,” said Atwood.
Last year, some 200 buoys decorated the tree, many in memory of mariners lost at sea or in honour of those who make their living on the ocean.
Every year a call goes out for buoys to add to the tree, said Atwood. Last year the Municipality initiated a campaign for 15×9, American-style traps with brickless bottoms or barbecue bottoms in new or like-new condition to be donated to build the tree, making it safer and more stable.
Atwood said the response was great.
“We were happy with the size of the tree. It did get bigger last year. We were overall happy with the number of traps donated… we’re happy with building it bigger at the capacity we’re at without going into an engineered tree.”
Barrington’s lobster pot Christmas tree attracts hundreds of visitors through the holiday season. “I’ve already had call from a lady in New Brunswick who is making plans to come and see the tree,” said Atwood.
Meanwhile, in Lunenburg, the Fisheries Museum was busy sourcing lobster traps this fall to build a lobster trap Christmas tree on the waterfront.
The Fisheries Museum started the tradition of a lobster trap tree in 2016. The tree was a go in 2017 and 2018, wasn’t done in 2019 due to a lack of traps, then COVID-19 hit in 2020. The tree was brought back last year, said Kandace Forward, event and marketing coordinator for the Fisheries Museum.
“We’re planning on doing that again this year. I’m just in the middle of trying to source traps for this year’s tree. We had them last year, but we don’t have enough space to store them, so we donated them to Bern Art and they’re going to make a beautiful display out of them,” said Forward.
Forward said staff “go above and beyond” setting up the lobster trap tree. “We try to have as many lights as we can every year,” she said.
Provided the traps can be sourced, plans are to light the tree on Nov. 25 in conjunction with the lighting of the Fisheries Museum vessels, the Theresa O’Connor and the Cape Sable. The lighting of the vessels has been a tradition at the museum for a decade or longer, said Forward.
The lighting is a huge community event, said Forward, with a visit from Santa, live music, entertainment, a marshmallow roast and a kids zone with crafts and other activities.
“The Old Fish Factory usually participates and other community businesses donate candy for the kids and hot apple cider. It’s a big community event. Usually there’s quite a few people. Now without COVID-19 restrictions we expect this one to be the biggest one yet.”
In West Pubnico, the 24-foot buoy tree topped with a two-foot radar reflector will stand sentinel for the third year at the Dennis Point wharf in Lower West Pubnico.
A project of the West Side Improvement Society, the buoy tree is constructed out of three, stainless steel sections, covered in netting, then covered in buoys and lights. More than 4,000 lights decorate the tree. It is made to be taken apart and stored.