The Ovens Park

Twenty kilometres south of Lunenburg was The Ovens Park. The seventy-three hectare site had once been known as Indian Ovens. This was probably due to a Mi’kmaq legend about a man who entered a cave in his canoe and emerged in Annapolis on the other side of Nova Scotia.

The Ovens had once been the height of activity during the 1861 gold rush era in Nova Scotia when there had been over a thousand miners at the site. There were hotels, stores, and a bank at that time, but little of the past remained. Half of the sand on Cunards Beach had been bagged and sent to Wales. The remainder was panned by miners. Now only metamorphic slate with thin seams of quartz lay scattered over the entire beach.

A trail followed the rugged Lunenburg Bay coastline near Cunards Beach. The first site along the trail was Tuckers Tunnel. It had once been a natural cave but was extended due to mining. Indian Cave was the one related to the Mi’kmaq legend. Further on were the two most impressive caves—Thunder Cave and Cannon Cave. As waves entered these caves a loud bang echoed from inside, thus their names.

At the end of the short trail was a return path through the forest. Not only were fierce Atlantic storms eroding the coastline, but an infestation by the long-horned spruce beetle was destroying trees. Many had been chopped down. I’m not sure if it was because they had rotted or from some other reason.

This was my last Nova Scotian stop before crossing Federation Bridge. I didn’t realize until the end of my three weeks on the east coast that Nova Scotia would be by far the best of the three provinces I toured. Even Lunenburg where I’d stayed only to be close enough to visit The Ovens had been a gem.