An elephant, a teacup and a hippo: P.E.I.'s fabulous rock formations
'I think it's just the uniqueness of how it's created, in this really cool unbelievable shape'
Prince Edward Island has some spectacular scenery but it is the rocky shoreline that has generated some of the biggest buzz.
Erosion carves the sandstone into recognizable shapes that are given names and become destinations for locals and visitors.
For a couple of decades, Elephant Rock was a major tourist attraction at Norway, P.E.I. — drawing more than 5,000 people per year to have a look.
Freelance photographer Aggie Gaudet is credited with discovering the rock in the 1970s and bringing it to public attention with her many photos.
"It got some attention, not just Island-wide. We had interest in the formation from all across the country," said Scott Harper, who worked for the West Prince Tourism Association.
"I think it was quite unique and locals took advantage of that a little bit and directed some people there and tried to capitalize on it."
Trunk falls off
But erosion eventually took its toll and a storm damaged the trunk, which fell off in January 1999, and the rock was an elephant no more.
"Erosion caused it and erosion was going to continue to do its thing," Harper said.
"It happened, life goes on."
Elephant Rock attracted more than 5,000 visitors a year at the peak of its popularity and that was sorely missed after the trunk fell off in 1999 and it was an elephant no more <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PEI?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PEI</a> <a href="https://t.co/9yI72xJk1J">pic.twitter.com/9yI72xJk1J</a>—@NancyRussellCBC
Harper now manages a wind farm next to the former rock formation and sees people coming to take a look.
"We do see people out there, frankly it's unknown whether they're coming out to look for Elephant Rock or they're just looking for a scenic vista," Harper said.
"It comes up now and again, you still see people posting memories on Facebook."
Teacup Rock at Thunder Cove Beach is one of the Island's most photographed rock formations.
It, too, has been around for decades.
"It's been around for a long time so it's a generational thing," said Nicole Wilson, marketing development officer at the nearby Twin Shores Camping Area.
"I think it's just the uniqueness of how it's created, in this really cool unbelievable shape."
Wilson said people are constantly stopping at the campground looking for directions to Teacup Rock.
She recommends that people park at Thunder Cove Beach and then walk to the left for about 15 minutes.
But access to the rock formation is dependent on the tide.
Wilson admits there have been concerns raised about the future of the formation, because of the ongoing erosion of the shoreline.
"I have heard that from some people, every year it erodes a little bit," Wilson said.
"Right now it still looks to be in pretty good shape but it's something to consider because down the road, it's going to happen."
Hippo Rock and a new Elephant Rock
Now there are a couple of new rock formations in western P.E.I. that are attracting attention.
There is one that looks like an elephant, and another like a hippo.
The two new formations can only be seen by water, as there is no public access from shore.
The rock formations are interesting but Harper argues that P.E.I. may not need another Elephant Rock.
"Perhaps, I mean it always brings attention," Harper said.
"I think these unique rock formations are really cool but at the end of the day, with or without, the coastline is pretty spectacular."
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