McNabs Island Teahouse Transformed

by Catherine McCarthy

Finally, we have raised enough money to begin to transform the abandoned Island Teahouse into an Island Centre, which will become a focal point for outdoor education and community activities on the island.

The location and character of the building has always been the appeal. Planted in the heart of the Hugonin-Perrin Victorian Gardens, this stone building overlooks Halifax Harbour and is not too far
from Garrison Pier. John Jenkins, owner of the McNabs Island Ferry Company, built the Tea House in the 1980s. He salvaged stone from some of the nearby foundations to construct the Teahouse
that operated as a café until 1994. The stone structure, which resembles a Scottish crofter’s cottage, has been empty for the past 25 years!

Friends of McNabs Island volunteers have cleaned out the building, hauled away all the debris and now are ready to give this old building a new life. With the donated professional help of Harvey Architecture and BMR Structural Engineering, we have new plans for the building.

Royce Walker and Brian Phelan have done an enormous amount of volunteer work on this project –working with suppliers, working with the government to get approval, and coordinating our volunteers. Gordon Warnica is volunteering his engineering services as our project manager.

Scotia Metals is giving us a discount on the metal roof and Metro Windows and Doors is discounting the price for new windows and doors. We will be installing skylights on the roof to let in natural light and converting the second storey loft into a mezzanine for storage. Solar panels will help power some basic equipment like laptops, cell phones and give us light during the dark winters.

Once the building is renovated, we will install interpretive panels, and will provide tables and benches for group activities. The building will be available for Friends of McNabs Island outdoor education programming and activities. Others, such as youth groups, schools and community groups will have access to the building too.

We would like to thank everyone who has helped with this project so far. Thanks for the financial support from long-time members Doris Schrader and Mary Ellen Donovan, the Sage Environmental
Fund, Oceans North, Credit Union Atlantic, Nova Scotia Communities, Culture and Heritage and all our members and supporters who came out to our Good Robot Brewing fundraiser last fall.

It’s wonderful to get this project off the ground. However, there is still an awful lot more to do. If you can help us with the renovations or assist financially, please contact us.