Wine Harbour is a tiny community located in Guyborough County along the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia.
A Portuguese vessel loaded with wine was wrecked here. Its cargo flowed into the harbour, establishing the name. The Indian name was "Pebumkeegunech" which when translated to English means "fish spawning place" or "an outlet cut through the sand".
By 1862, Wine Harbour was thriving rapidly. The main reason for its vigorous growth was the discovery of gold in July 1861 by Katie Doody and Joseph Smith, Sr. which was the beginning of a great gold boom which lasted until 1905. Because of the gold mine, Wine Harbour was one of the first settlements in Guysborough County to have electricity.
After 1905 the gold mining industry lay desolate until 1936 when C. Irving supervised the opening of the once prosperous gold mines. It died the following year and Wine Harbour lost its once booming industry forever. At the time of the gold mining industry Wine Harbour was also growing in other aspects. Thomas Lucas had a hotel and store and the Irwin family had a number of general stores throughout the area. A lobster factory was located in the area whose foreman was John Ballantyne and a blacksmith shop and a bank were also in the area. Postmaster at this time was John Gilles. St. Patrick’s Mission Church was built in 1857 to replace a larger church that had been destroyed by a hurricane. A Union Church was dedicated to Baptists, Anglicans and Presbyterians in 1897, and is no longer in existence. St. Patrick’s Mission Church has been vacant since 1955. The first schoolhouse was built in 1869 and 85 pupils were registered at this time. Before this it was believed that the original Catholic Church was used during the week as a schoolroom for the children.
After 1905, limited farming, fishing and logging were the main industries and the 1956 population decreased to 50. Today the population of the community is about 25. Wine Harbour has lost its gold mines, its factories, most of its fishing, many of its forests, a church and the majority of its people. Its history will remain.
So long my friends,