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Tancook Islands

Municipality of Chester

Just about 6 miles / 9.7 km off the coast on the outer edge of Mahone Bay sits Big Tancook Island.

Colourful wooden houses on a hill facing the sea taken from a shaded rock beach.

Originally settled by German and French families in the late eighteenth century – today the island is home to around 120 full-time residents with the population doubling during the summer season.

Wooden houses on a hill facing a cove with marsh lands and a small lake in the foreground.

A picturesque and natural environment provides the perfect backdrop for the artistic community who celebrate and preserve the historical tapestry of traditions – fishing and heritage.

Marshlands with trees and an old blue and yellow house in the background

Tancook was named from the Mi’kmaq word for “facing the open sea” - so as you might imagine, the views looking out to the waters of the Atlantic and Mahone Bay are breathtaking making it an ideal destination for photographers.

Narrow dirt road turning through grass and evergreen trees under a blue sky with few clouds.

Plan to visit the Island’s Museum to discover the rich history while you’re there along with a stop into Popplerock – run by the co-operative of island artists - where you can watch the chair caners and rug hookers in action. Other businesses include Wishing Stones Studio & Gallery and Carolyn’s Restaurant, Crafts & Bike Rentals.

Only 3 miles/4.8 km long and 1.5 miles / 2.4 km at the widest point, Tancook is the perfect place to hike or bike along their nature paths – and stroll their beach in search of shells and sea glass.

A sheltered cove welcomes sailors – while the William G. Ernst Ferry makes year-round daily runs between Big Tancook and the Village of Chester. The ride takes about 1 hour and are free since June 2021 when the province announced that fees would be eliminated on all intra-provincial ferries.

Thank you to Joan Callum McInnis for providing photos of Tancook.

Text reads: "Boaters - We're planning a trip to Tancook and want to dock and explore the island. Can you help us understand docking privleges in Northwest Cove? Answer: Once Lobster season closes on May 31st, boaters are welcome to tie up along-side the lobster boats docked at the main wharf. As a courtesy, you can contact David Baker, Harbour Authority of Tancook Island represetative to advise of your docking location and expected length of stay - Phone 902-299-0035."