Things to Do and MAP

About Tancook
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.
(Click on image to view full size.)

Rec Centre
Starting on July 1, the Rec Centre will be open for the summer season. Alanna, our summer Student Ambassador, will be on hand to greet visitors to the island.

Summer hours for the 2022 season:

Mon – Fri –   11:15 am – 4:15 pm
Sun –  11:00 am – 4:00 pm
CLOSED on Saturdays

 Beaches
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.

Bird Watching
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.

Cemetery
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.

Geocaching
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.

Fossils 
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.

Historical Tancook – Vol. 3

Thank you to Peggy Langille for sharing these photos with us.

Historical Tancook – Vol. 2

Thank you to Margo Cross for sharing these photos with our community.

Historical Tancook – Vol. 1

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!

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?

Busy Week at Big Tancook Elementary

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.

Health Care Services for Tancook Residents

Several months ago, Lorraine Burch, General Manager of Our Health Centre in Chester came to Tancook to meet with residents to discuss issues and concerns regarding health services. After the meeting, Lorraine lobbied on our behalf and, as a result, we are pleased share a few developments with you.

VON
After an extended suspension of services, the VON has agreed to return to Tancook should a resident require their services. The VON Tri-County office number is 902-742-4512.

Palliative Care
There is also a Palliative Care team willing to come to Tancook should their services be required. This can be arranged through a referral from your family doctor.

In order to resume these services, we had to comply with a standard risk assessment given to all communities for which these services are requested. The primary concern was safe transportation of service providers. Among the required criteria were current police checks for drivers as well as vehicle insurance.

Our voices were heard and this is good news for all Tancook residents.

Big Tancook Island Receives Community Spirit Award

Rosa Cross receives the Lieutenant Governor’s Community Spirit Award on behalf of the community of Big Tancook Island, from Lt.-Gov. Arthur LeBlanc, at a ceremony on the island on Sept. 6. (Contributed)

Big Tancook Island receives Community Spirit Award

DENISE SURETTE Chronicle Herald
 September 12, 2017 – 10:38am
 September 12, 2017 – 10:40am

A tiny community received a big award last week.

Big Tancook Island is this year’s recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Community Spirit Award, which celebrates volunteerism and community engagement in Nova Scotia.

The little village of just 200 permanent residents is an active group, working together, formally and informally, on a number of different issues. Rosa Cross, a permanent resident who is active in the community, says island residents share a mutual interest and love of the island and its long history, resulting in a team effort that supports the community.

“Within our small community, many of our volunteers help on more than one association, so it is essential that we all work well together. Some of the best partnerships are the informal ones, the ones that get formed out of a mutual desire to accomplish something, whether it is a marketing plan for the island, a need for infrastructure improvements or how to maintain our emergency response services,” says Cross.

Lt.-Gov. Arthur LeBlanc presented the award on Wednesday, Sept. 6, in a ceremony on the island, which sits on the outer edge of Mahone Bay. LeBlanc says he is pleased to present the community with such an important award.

“Vibrant and caring communities are an outstanding characteristic of Nova Scotia and it is this community spirit that makes this province one of the finest places to live in Canada,” says LeBlanc.

Residents of Big Tancook Island have come together through the years to maintain its one-room schoolhouse, continue and improve the ferry service to the island, encourage tourism, host local events and support emergency services. Many of the residents who live on the island and support the community can trace their heritage on Big Tancook back hundreds of years, and still pursue their livelihood through fishing and lobstering.

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