McNabs Island – Halifax Harbour

Had an awesome day walking around McNabs Island. I’m going to start volunteering with the Friends of McNabs Island Society and they weren’t at all upset when I said I’d never been. They just said, okay, let’s get you over there.

My tour guide’s name was Dylan and he did an amazing job explaining all the little trails and 200 year old buildings. Most of the island is a mystery since there has been evidence of people living on the island up to 5000 years ago.

Being at the mouth of the Halifax Harbour, McNabs was a perfect place for forts, munitions batteries and lookout posts going back to the War of 1812. None of the military outposts ever saw action in any wars but, if you know your 1812 and WW history, Halifax was an important naval port with ships and resources for the British and Canadians army departing from Halifax. It was just an obvious port to protect. With such strong outposts, no one ever tried to attack Canada through Nova Scotia.

During World Wars 1 and 2, the batteries and forts were fortified and a lot of them rebuilt and strengthened. McNabs and Point Pleasant was the lookouts for submarines trying to enter the harbour.

Along with military establishments, there was also lots of people living and visiting the island for the last 200 years. Evidence of picnic sites and fair grounds can still be found on the island and newspaper clippings from the times notes many large societal events taking place on McNabs.

Along with Lawlor Island right beside it, there is also a dark history to the area. During the Cholera breakout in the late 19th century, McNabs island became a place of quarantine for those infected. The HMS England had over 400 people coming from England and infected with Cholera and were directed to McNabs. Two mass graves are on the island from the 200 people who died. Because of erosion, many think one of the grave sites has been washed into the ocean.

After four hours of hiking, I’ve still only seen about half the island.

Photo by Becky Zimmer
My boyfriend loves this one because I got the flower crab spider in the shot. Photo by Becky Zimmer
Entrance to Fort McNab. Photo by Becky Zimmer
Entrance to Fort McNab. Photo by Becky Zimmer
The McNab family graveyard. Photo by Becky Zimmer
The McNab family graveyard. Photo by Becky Zimmer
One of the buildings at Fort McNab. Photo by Becky Zimmer
One of the buildings at Fort McNab. Photo by Becky Zimmer
World War 2 gun at Fort McNabs. Still set up. Photo by Becky Zimmer
World War 2 gun at Fort McNabs. Still set up. Photo by Becky Zimmer
View from inside one of the lookouts at Fort McNab. Photo by Becky Zimmer
View from inside one of the lookouts at Fort McNab. Imagine being a soldier and constantly looking for enemy ships. Photo by Becky Zimmer
View from inside one of the lookouts at Fort McNab. Photo by Becky Zimmer
View from inside one of the lookouts at Fort McNab. Photo by Becky Zimmer
The open ocean. Photo by Becky Zimmer.
The open ocean. Photo by Becky Zimmer.
On the horizon is more McNabs Island. Photo by Becky Zimmer.
On the horizon is more McNabs Island. Photo by Becky Zimmer.
McNabs Pond. Photo by Becky Zimmer
McNabs Pond. Photo by Becky Zimmer
Hangman's Beach. Photo by Becky Zimmer
Hangmans Beach. Photo by Becky Zimmer
Just outside of Strawberry Battery. Photo by Becky Zimmer
Just outside of Strawberry Battery. Photo by Becky Zimmer
More open ocean. Photo by Becky Zimmer.
More open ocean. Photo by Becky Zimmer.
Stony beach at McNabs Island. Photo by Becky Zimmer.
Stony beach at McNabs Island. Photo by Becky Zimmer.
One of the few permanent  inhabitants of the island. Photo by Becky Zimmer
One of the few permanent inhabitants of the island. Photo by Becky Zimmer
Hugonin Point. Site for one of the Cholera mass graves but since it wasn't marked, no one knows if erosion has cause the bodies to fall into the ocean. Photo by Becky Zimmer.
Hugonin Point. Site for one of the Cholera mass graves but since it wasn’t marked, no one knows if erosion has cause the bodies to fall into the ocean. Photo by Becky Zimmer.
Maugers Lighthouse, now  automated and on the short list to be demolished. Hangmans Beach is only accessible at low tide and even then, you're going to get wet getting out to the lighthouse. Photo by Becky Zimmer.
Maugers Lighthouse, now automated and on the short list to be demolished. Hangmans Beach is only accessible at low tide and even then, you’re going to get wet getting out to the lighthouse. Photo by Becky Zimmer.
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