MCNAB ISLAND, Halifax County - An island situated in the mouth of Halifax Harbour. In 1711, the Frenchman, DeLabat, who was sent to survey the harbour for fortification, called the island "Ils de Chibouquetou." On a 1732 map it was "Scarborough Island." In 1749 it was named Cornwallis Island after Governor Edward Cornwallis. It was granted to Henry, James and William Cornwallis on July 20,1752. After Peter McNab ( founder of the McNab family in Nova Scotia) purchased it for £ 1000 in 1783 it became McNab's. Settlement began about 1752 for the fishery. Later the McNab's farmed and raised sheep. In 1872-3 some of the island was sold as building lots for summer cottages.
Willaim H. Grindley began teaching on the island about 1855, and in 1857 there was a frame school-house in very good condition. A new, one-room school was built about 1940.
The Sherbrooke Martello tower was begun in 1814, and went into service as a lighthouse in April, 1828. Ives Point Battery was begun in 1865, being completed in 1870. Construction on Fort McNab started about 1889, and was completed about 1891. Fort Hugonin, (named for the man who married James McNab's daughter) was built in 1899. Military installations remained until the end of World War II. The population in 1956 was 63.