Scenic trails meander from one end of the island to the other, leading to abandoned farmhouses, gardens, isolated beaches and forts at both ends of the island.
The place is lousy with history. It was a popular fishing and hunting area for the Mi'kmaq (Micmac) First Nations people. Later, settled by Europeans, its strategic location in the harbour mouth was a natural spot for defensive fortifications.
With regular ferry runs, the island became a favourite weekend destination for Haligonians in the late 1800's.
Competing "Pleasure Grounds" vied for the attention of summer visitors, offering a dance pavilion, picnic grounds, canteens and even a steam-powered merry-go-round.
|Not an old ruin but a closed tea house built in the 1980's .|
Sadly, McNab's Island faded as a summer destination of choice in the 1900's.
Now a Provincial park, it offers a natural escape, just minutes from a bustling, metropolitan city.
Though there is no regular ferry service, transport to the island can easily be arranged. Last year, my cousin Carol and I hired a boat to take us from Eastern Passage and pick us up again for only $10 each. Amazingly enough, most Haligonians have never visited this marvellous island that lies right at their doorstep.
Last Sunday it was even cheaper than that. The ferry ride was free. And rather than having the place to myself, I was one of perhaps 200 people who came with a single purpose in mind. It was island clean-up day.
The Friends of McNab's Island Society had arranged for ferries to bring volunteers from the City and from the Passage. Adults, school children, girl guides, oldsters and young families were all there to help with the clean up.
It was a lovely day -- breezy, mild and occasionally even sunny. We split into groups heading for different areas of the island to clear beaches of litter.
Hundreds of bags of garbage were collected.
|Staff with a cart collected the many garbage bags left |
along the edges of paths.
Our ferry took us back to the Passage at 4:30 where we found that a barge loaded with garbage had just arrived and help was needed to transfer the waste to a waiting garbage truck.
|I was impressed that our local M.P.* (in yellow T-shirt), Peter Stoffer,|
joined us for the day-long clean up.
|I'm sorry I didn't get a shot of my missed throw. I accidentally chucked |
a bag of garbage onto the top of the garbage truck !
All-in-all, it was a wonderful day.
Care to join me for next year's clean-up ?
* M.P. = Federal Member of Parliament.