On Thursday July 9th a group of Rotarians and friends went hiking on McNabs Island. We were ably guided by Tineke Weld and Cassandra Curtis from Friends of McNabs Island Society.
McNabs Island is Halifax's best kept secret and is the largest island at the entrance of Halifax Harbour in Nova Scotia. Part of the McNabs and Lawlor Islands Provincial Park, McNabs Island is only a short boat ride from Halifax or Eastern Passage, but feels like a world away with its colorful past and unspoiled natural beauty.
The Friends of McNabs Island Society (FMIS) help to promote and preserve the Island’s many historical and natural features.
Excerpts from the FMIS website:
Situated on the eastern side of the entrance to Halifax Harbour, McNabs Island has provided a scenic and historic backdrop to the lives of metro residents for over two centuries. Its strategic location was utilized by the military to guard the harbour, her fertile soils provided an important source of food for early settlers, and the beaches, woodlands, open fields and scenery have attracted local residents for leisure-time pursuits since the 1700's.
In 1974 the Province of Nova Scotia acquired most of the northern half of McNabs Island and the following year approved the designation of both McNabs and nearby Lawlor islands as regional park under the Halifax-Dartmouth Metropolitan Regional Development Plan. The intent of the regional park designation was "to protect areas of unique natural significance against adverse effects and to reserve sufficient open space for recreational purposes." In 1983, responsibility for the acquisition, management and development of the islands as park land was reassigned to the Department of Lands and Forests (now Natural Resources) through the Provincial Parks Program.
A report on the FMIS website examines the human history of McNabs Island, from early use by Indians, the arrival of European fishermen and explorers in the late 17th century and subsequent development and use by English settlers and their descendants. The bulk of the report focuses on the period immediately following the founding of Halifax in 1749 to the early years of the 20th century during which time McNabs Island was most extensively used, both by the resident population and for military purposes. It also provides a brief historical summary of Lawlor and Devils islands. To view the entire report, go to https://mcnabsisland.ca/introduction