Exploring McNab’s Island

Rich in History

When you look out Halifax Harbour, you see two islands. The larger island an important part in the history of the early settlements by Europeans. But back in the late 1600’s, the island was originally known as Isle Chibouquetou by the French. But it wasn’t until 1749, when the British gained control, that the island was important to its interest in protecting Halifax.

The fortifications represent one element of a system of defences around Halifax Harbour. These fortifications include Citadel Hill, Georges Island, Point Pleasant and York Redoubt.

The island is known today as McNab’s Island Provincial Park where it is recreational destination with the historic fortifications & foundations peppered throughout the island.

The Trip

I decided to take up an invitation and do a quick visit to the island and to scope out a few geocaches while I’m there. My journey started at Fisherman’s Cove, along the Eastern Passage just past Dartmouth. Our boat ride in early March was brisk but only lasted about 15 minutes. We docked along Garrison Pier and started our hike along Maugers Beach.

Our first destination was towards Fort McNab. Built in 1889, it was used to guard the city up until World War II. Along the way, we saw old foundations and evidence of an old brick works factory.

Land Owners

The island is split between the Federal, Provincial Government & private land owners. Parks Canada maintains mostly the fortifications on the island while the Department of Natural Resources maintains the remaining portions of the island. All but 3% is privately owned.

Used As Recently as WWII

Recently, Fort McNab has gone through a transformation where efforts have been made to preserve the fortifications by stabilizing the structures. A large canon from York Redoubt was transported onto the island and now is perched looking out to sea.

At the other end of the island is another fortification called Fort Ives. Built in 1864, this location was also used to protect the Harbour. Search lights and a submarine net was used during World War I. Now the buildings have been boarded up and several canons lay neatly stacked on the side of the site.

There are many more sights to visits on the island, but I wanted to highlight a few. This is a full day activity where the island doesn’t provide any services beyond pit toilets. A number of geocaches are also on the island, here are some of the highlights as you explore the island.

[notice class=”approved”]Originally posted on novascotiablogs.com[/notice]