Island History

 

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Big Tancook Island is the largest of 365 islands in Mahone Bay, Lunenburg County. It is about six miles off the coast of Chester, Nova Scotia, Canada.  The only pubic transportation is by government ferry, the William G. Ernst.  The ferry ride takes about fifty minutes from the village of Chester.

Tancook is about three miles long and 1.5 miles at the widest point.  Smaller islands such as Little Tancook, East Ironbound, Grassy and Starr are close by.

The word Tancook comes the Mi'kmaq which means facing the open sea.

The island was granted to Patrick Sutherland around 1759.  Sutherland failed to develop the island and by 1790 it was given back to the crown.  

In 1792 both Tancooks and Starr Island were granted to J.H. Flieger and George Grant.  In 1829, thirty families of German colonists and french Huguenots who had been brought over by the British government established their homes on the Tancooks.  

The island itself is shaped like a fish hook, a symbol of survival for most of its people.  Fishing is now the primary industry although at one time most islanders were farmers.  The making of sauerkraut was a primary industry until the 1970's.  A few people still make sauerkraut for sale.  Still others grow summer savory to sell.  

Boat building was once a booming business on Tancook.  The first boat was built around 1827 by John Baker and was named Three Brothers.  About 1880, Tancook became famous for the construction of the Tancook Whalers and Schooners.  These boats were noted for their speed, seaworthiness, and fine lines.  The last boat shop owned by Stanley Mason closed its doors in the late 1970's and boat building became a thing of the past.

Postal service was started around 1867 in a private home.  The present post office building was built in 1967.  

 

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This website was created by Tancook Elementary Students in grades Primary to 5.
For problems or questions regarding this web contact [btes@ssrsb.ca
Last update-  January 8, 2010.