Founder of We Love Nova Scotia fan page created space of beauty, belonging
Peter Kipper was behind the popular Facebook page We Love Nova Scotia
Peter Kipper was Nova Scotia's unofficial ambassador and he did it all for free from a computer at his Dartmouth home.
The 70-year-old retired real estate agent created the beloved Facebook page, We Love Nova Scotia. With more than 55,000 members, it's become the go-to online community for Nova Scotians near and far.
Since Kipper's death on Feb. 7, the page he devoted years to building has been flooded with condolences as members reflect on the legacy he leaves behind.
The page is where people post beautiful photographs from Nova Scotia, but it's become much more than that, said Peter's daughter, Erika Kipper.
She said her dad helped inspire Nova Scotians to visit out-of-the-way places and even managed to attract newcomers to the province.
"Just that feeling of bringing people close together and bringing people here to where he called home, he loved it. He loved Nova Scotia," she said.
Kipper moved to Nova Scotia from Germany with his parents at the age of five.
In 2013, he began posting photos to Facebook under We Love Nova Scotia to share his deep love of the ocean and the province's natural beauty.
Erika Kipper said her dad wanted to see the group grow, but she doesn't think even he was prepared for the kind of support it would get. She thinks people have flocked to the page because it's a place where they feel they belong.
"I think that's what made the group as big as it was because people felt included and loved and just enveloped in [Nova Scotia's] beauty," she said.
Most of the group's members never knew Peter Kipper personally, but they came to know him through his posts and the impressive list of rules that he never shied away from enforcing.
He spent hours each day moderating comments and making sure they didn't devolve into the usual online bashing, said Erika Kipper.
She said it wasn't unusual for her dad to drop what he was doing and return home so he could remove something that he didn't feel belonged on the page.
At the end of each month, he'd proudly share how many photos had been posted, and the number of likes and comments.
"He just took care of that page. It was like a baby to him. It was me, my sister and that page," said Erika Kipper.
'People cared about my dad'
That's why the day her father died, she logged on and shared the news with his online family. The response she received overwhelmed her.
"It just makes me feel so good inside that people cared about my dad, you know, almost as much as I did," she said through tears. "It's warming."
Erika Kipper said she's thankful to have a piece of her dad carry on. It's a reminder, she said, that even though she's thought of leaving her home province, there's no place quite like it.
"I don't think people understand how beautiful it is here and what it has to offer. People are always saying, move out West, move out West. Well, no. My dad was showcasing how beautiful it is here," she said.
Another administrator has taken over care of the page for the time being, and Erika Kipper plans to eventually take her dad's place so she can continue the tradition he started.
Peter Kipper's funeral was held Friday in Dartmouth.