PEI

Weakened by Fiona, iconic P.E.I. rock formation brought down by Nicole

Seven weeks after Teacup Rock toppled over in post-tropical storm Fiona, another iconic coastal landmark on Prince Edward Island has succumbed to the forces of nature.

2nd coastal landmark on P.E.I. succumbs to elements in recent weeks

A previous shot of the arch at MacKenzie's Brook, left, and a picture taken on Sunday after it collapsed. (Nicola MacLead/CBC)

Seven weeks after Teacup Rock toppled over in post-tropical storm Fiona, another iconic coastal landmark on Prince Edward Island has succumbed to the forces of nature.

The sea arch at MacKenzie's Brook in P.E.I. National Park near Cavendish collapsed on Sunday morning after heavy winds and rain from tropical depression Nicole.

Like Teacup Rock, it was a popular area for photographers and often featured in P.E.I. tourism brochures.

Timothy Gallant, who lives in nearby Rusticoville and has photographed the arch many times over the years, went to see for himself when he heard that it had collapsed.

"It was weird to see that hole completely opened up," he said.

The north shore of P.E.I. suffered extensive damage during Fiona, and parts of the national park remain closed to the public during recovery efforts.

Pink and purple lupins against a backdrop of red sandstone cliffs.
The arch at MacKenzie's Brook has been a popular area for photographers. (Maggie Ma)

Gallant said the arch started as a small hole, and every year — and after every storm — he would notice it getting larger.

"When Fiona went by, it took a nice little chunk out on the right-hand side of it and that kind of weakened the structure a lot more, and then we had Nicole over the weekend … and I guess with the heavy rains and winds that we had over the last couple days was the last straw."

'It was weird to see that hole completely opened up,' says Timothy Gallant. (Tony Davis/CBC)

The formation was a huge tourist attraction. Gallant said he would often see tour buses pull up and people come out to take photos.

"It's going to look way different when they come back this year."

Before-and-after photos of Teacup Rock at Thunder Cove. The popular rock formation toppled in September during post-tropical storm Fiona. (Submitted by Marg Chisholm-Ramsay)

Gallant, at least, will have old pictures of the arch to cherish.

"At certain parts of the year, sunsets and sunrises, it changes during the year and every so often you can get the sun right in hole and it looks amazing."

Michele Gallant and Greg Gillis, who were at MacKenzie's Brook on Sunday, said it was only a matter of time before the arch caved in.

"We've been watching it deteriorate for quite a little while, well, since Fiona and we were wondering when it was going to happen," Gallant said.

Michele Gallant and Greg Gillis say they are sad to see the arch collapse, but expect a new formation will take shape somewhere else. (Tony Davis/CBC)

"It was used as a framework for a lot of photographs and the locals would drive by just to see how it was doing. So it'll be missed."

Gillis said he's seen a lot of erosion along the P.E.I. coast in recent years, and rock formations come and go.

"It's a shame, but what can you do? It's Mother Nature. A new one will start up somewhere."

WATCH | A look at Fiona's historic hammering of P.E.I. in September: 

From then to now, Fiona's historic hammering of Prince Edward Island

4 months ago
Duration 3:08
A look back at the initial moments of Fiona and the aftermath of what many have called the worst storm in Island history.

With files from Tony Davis

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