In 2017, the Friends of McNabs Island Society celebrated our 27 th year as a society! We organized many activities and events including guided tours, work parties and the beach cleanup. We continued to answer inquiries from around the world and to present to groups interested in McNabs Island.
The 26 th annual McNabs Island Clean-up was held June 4th. 200 volunteers collected another 500 bags of garbage and recyclables from the island’s beaches. We had the help of divers who cleaned up the waters around Garrison Pier and Maugers Beach. They pulled up a toilet from the depths near the pier. Again the recurring items found among the beach debris are Tim Horton’s cups and plastics of all kinds, from broken fish crates and rope to plastic tampon applicators. More than 30 lobster traps were found washed up on the shore. We participated in Oceans Week activities again last year. Rope from the cleanup was collected, washed and woven into a wall hanging and displayed during Oceans Week events.
Since 1991, the Friends have collected over 13,000 bags of garbage from the beaches of McNabs and Lawlor Islands Provincial Park - making the clean-up effort the largest and longest-running beach cleanup in the Maritimes. These cleanups are costly - close to $3,000 each year.
Last year we were fortunate to receive donations from Waterfront Development, McInnes Cooper and the Dump and Run to help pay for the transportation costs for volunteers.
Island Projects & Activities
We continued the work of restoring the Victorian Gardens on the island and have now cleaned out the lawn area just below the ruins of the Hugonin Perrin House. Work is ongoing in 2018. We’re continuing to fundraise to get the abandoned Teahouse opened again and transformed into the McNabs Island Outdoor Centre. Harvey Architecture is graciously providing us with plans and several businesses offered to discount their prices to help out.
The Friends 27 th Annual General Meeting was held on April 12, 2017 at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Guest speaker was historian Jay White, who gave an excellent presentation on the important military role McNabs Island played from Confederation to the Cold War. Our Special Friend of the Island Award was given to Brent King for all his work developing guided tours for descendents of the cholera victims and for overseeing the kiosk interpretive panels.
Last summer we hired two students, Gabrielle Doucet and Flavie Gauthier-Chamard, through the Canada Summer Jobs program. They offered guided tours throughout the summer and Flavie translated the McNabs Island Kit for Schools, our brochure and several pages on our website.
In 2017, due to demand, we doubled the number of guided tours. They were held on July 9, 16 and August 13 and 20. We also coordinated the Tall Ships Picnic that Waterfront Development 1scheduled for July 29. Our Fall Foliage Tours was held on October 15 with 200 people taking part in a variety of guided tours. In addition, we provided many guided tours for schools, community groups and even for family reunions. We also hosted the Halifax area Members of Parliament on the island on July 27. In 2017, we led a campaign along with the Halifax Regional Trails Association, to convince HRM to fund recreational trails. This would allow us to apply for matching municipal funds needed for other grants to get the trails fixed up on the island.
The society published two newsletters in 2017 (Vol. 26:1 and 26:2). We have an active Facebook page with 2,169 likes, our Twitter account has 2,666 followers. We have over 280 members. For the past 28 years the Friends have been the voice of McNabs Island – answering numerous requests for information from local residents and people around the world – fundraising to improve the trails, and park facilities – all to make McNabs Island a welcoming natural environment park for all to enjoy.
Prepared by: Catherine McCarthy
Friends of McNabs Island Society
March 21, 2018