Fort McNab National Historic Site - Historic Places Days

Fort McNab National Historic Site

McNabs Island, Nova Scotia
McNabs Island, NS, Canada
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The fort grounds are accessible year-round, however there is no winter maintenance on the pathway.


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Fort McNab was the gatekeeper of Halifax Harbour for many decades because of its strategic location and advanced technology. Located at the southern end of McNabs Island, the fort was once part of Canada’s front line of seaward defence. Today, the remains of the fortifications can be accessed by rough trail and former military roads on the island. The guns, shelters and searchlight emplacements are an enduring reminder of the importance of this once-formidable fort.

From the 1880s and for more than half a century, Fort McNab played a key role in the Halifax Defence System, guarding one of the British Empire’s (and then Canada’s) most significant naval stations. Fort McNab is a part of the Halifax Defence Complex. British and Canadian military forces built many forts and batteries over the years to protect Halifax and its harbour. Five of these fortifications, known as the Halifax Defence Complex, are national historic sites owned and operated by Parks Canada. These sites are being preserved and maintained for current and future generations to discover.


  • Family-Friendly
  • National Historic Site
  • Parkland
  • Washrooms

Fun Facts

  • Construction began on Fort McNab in 1888 and was finished in 1892. The fort marked a new chapter in Halifax’s history as one of the British Empire’s, and subsequently Canada’s, most significant naval stations during the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Fort McNab was Halifax’s first fort to have swift-acting breech-loading armament.
  • Between the 1880s and the 1940s, Fort McNab served as a gun battery and stood as the Gatekeeper of Halifax Harbour.


McNabs Island, NS, Canada
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