The Feb/March 2019 issue of Saltscapes magazine features a story as told by Sheila Rodenhiser to Philip Moscovitch. (Click on the link below.)
Come and explore Tancook Island – a true Nova Scotian treasure just waiting to be discovered.
We are a unique community located approximately 6 miles off Chester, Nova Scotia – where vibrant artistry, a pristine natural environment, and a history rooted deeply in strong fishing traditions intertwine.
We invite you to leave your cares on the mainland and take a relaxing hour long ferry ride to visit us across beautiful Mahone Bay – or feel welcome to sail into our protected cove and stay awhile.
Come breathe in the sea salt air. Explore by hiking, biking, or beach combing for sea glass and shells. Enjoy a snack or meal at one of our eating establishments. Take a walk or rent a bike and ride to our museum where you will discover stories of days gone by.
Make Big Tancook your destination of choice to explore Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, Chester and Peggy’s Cove. There is no place better to allow the pace of life to slow than Big Tancook Island.
You may find this map helpful when planning your visit to Tancook.
Tancook Map 2020 (Click on link then click on map to enlarge.)
The Rec Centre will be open this summer. A youth Tourism Ambassador will be on hand to answer any questions you may have. The Rec Centre also sells cold drinks and some snacks.
Rec Centre Hours:
Tuesday – Friday: 11:30 – 4:30
Saturday: 2:00 – 6:00
Sunday: 10:00 – 5:00
The pepper sand of Southeast Cove Beach is warmed by the tides rising over the sand bars that extend 200 meters from shore into the ocean. The water temperature can reach up to 18 C. This is our largest and most popular beach.
Just past Southeast Cove is an interesting rocky beach called “Gravel Cove” where the rounded stones pop and gurgle as the waves wash in and out. On the way to Gravel Cove, check out the intriguing tubular and bubble-like formations in the flat, rocky outcrops that stretch into the ocean.
Additionally, a fossil beach is located very close to the wharf where the ferry docks. On this beach you may be lucky enough to find a treasure from long ago. There is also a quiet, secluded shingle beach on the other side of the island at Little Kaffel, which offers a lovely spot to have a picnic lunch, fly a kite or just spread a blanket and enjoy the sounds of the sea.
In shoreline tidal pools you’ll find crabs, eels, minnows, starfish and other small sea creatures. The beaches are also home to numerous shore and wading birds, such as herons, gulls and sandpipers. While walking the beaches you’ll also find many treasures including shells, drift wood and various colors of beach glass. Keep in mind that the most common colours of glass found on our shores are brown, green and white – if you’re lucky you may also find rare colours like blue, purple and red, which you should consider very special – as we do.
(Photos by Adam Cornick)
Hiking and Biking
Tancook offers an interesting and scenic eco-environment in which to hike and bike. Because our ferry is for foot passengers only, most visitors tour our island by foot or bike. This will allow you to take in all the richness of this tranquil setting, as well as experience the slower pace which exists on Tancook.
We are home to only dirt roads, which offer smooth walking or wheeling. Around each winding corner you’ll find scenic surprises and panoramic places to rest. Our relatively untouched natural environment offers beautiful oceanscapes, big skies and green spaces to enjoy. Bike rentals are available through Carolyn’s Restaurant.
Seventy-seven species of resident, seasonal and migratory birds can be found on Big Tancook Island. Some of the rare and exciting birds occasionally seen here include the Indigo Bunting, the House Wren, Tanagers and the Northern Parula. Other, more commonly seen birds include Crossbills and Blue Jays, Chickadees and Nuthatches, Warblers and Kinglets, Pheasants, Mourning Doves, and Robins. There are also Hummingbirds and Swallows in summer.
The history of Tancook can be understood in a very real way by visiting our cemetery. Many families make journeys to the island to research their family genealogy, or find long-lost family members. With headstones dating back to 1855 there is certainly lots to learn about our unique past. Reading the stones and following the family lines provide family historians with exciting and valuable information.
There have been geocaches on Tancook Island since 2006. Since then, many geocachers have made the day trek to seek out the caches. Our first geocaching event was hosted in 2012 and we have had several since then.
There are currently 40 caches on the island, many offering more unique challenges to test the most seasoned of geocachers. We have many kid-friendly caches and caches to get you hooked! You’ll learn about the history of Tancook while visiting some of our cache listings. Our caches will help you discover areas of our island that the regular visitor may not get experience.
To find our listings, go to geocaching.com, enter our postal code “B0J 3G0″ to search our listings. Cache listing pages are also available at the Tourism Centre.
Look for fossils at the beach below the gravel parking lot at the land-end of the Tancook Ferry wharf. Here you will find fossilized corals and shells, some of which contain glittering bits of “fools gold”, also known as pyrite.
Thank you to Peggy Langille for sharing these photos with us.
Thank you to Margo Cross for sharing these photos with our community.
Having a resident bird watching expert – Hillary Dionne – on the island means that local children will grow up with a love and knowledge of birds that live on and/or visit Big Tancook Island.
A recent bird watching expedition:
Enjoy this walk down memory lane. These old photos of people and places of Big Tancook Island have been collected from present and past islanders.
Congratulations to William Westhaver!
At the regional Heritage Fair on Friday, May 4, 2018, William won the judges’ selection award. His prize – a $30 visa card He was also 1 of 4 selected to create a video about his project. William now has a chance to go to Ottawa in the fall!
Could that be sauerkraut William is holding?
This week the children heard stories about youth doing amazing things to make a positive difference in the world. Our BTES students made their own Superhero Kids and came up with ways in which they would make the world a better place.
Math was made easier this week with help from neighbour, Ward Carson. It helps to have an accountant living next door to the school.
Isaac made us proud with his regional science fair project on wind vs solar energy.
Several months ago, the Nova Scotia Department of Seniors announced their Age-friendly Communities Grant program. We submitted an application to this program through BTIERA and have just been informed that our application was successful. As a result we have been awarded a grant to accomplish the following four goals:
- Survey island residents to assess which health services they currently need or may need in the years ahead.
- Conduct thorough research to determine which health service providers are willing to come to Tancook Island.
- Create a print resource to be made available to all island residents documenting who to contact for specific health services based on the research results.
- Establish a cohort of trained volunteers to help residents age-in-place as long as possible. (This includes palliative care training.)