One of the early European fishing ports in North America, Canso grew to be a thriving community of fishermen and merchants from New England. Now you can discover the fascinating story of the people who lived here more than 200 years ago, before it became a casualty of the Anglo-French rivalry for North America. Free boat service to the island is available from the Visitor Centre on the mainland.
The Canso Islands National Historic Site of Canada consists of a group of islands located off the eastern tip of mainland Nova Scotia, within easy access of the offshore fishing banks. The site consists of Grassy Island, which is connected by a cobble beach to George Island; and Piscatiqui Island, which was linked to George Island until 1779 when a channel was opened between them. These three islands have at various times been known as Canso Island, the Great Island of Canso, the Canso islands, Great and Little Canso Islands, Canso Island and Cape Ann, Canso and Binney Islands. A number of smaller islands are also included within the site. They are located north of the three larger islands in an area historically referred to as “Back of the islands.” The waters between the islands provide sheltered anchorages. The site includes Grassy Island Fort National Historic Site of Canada, located on Grassy Island itself. The designation refers to the islands at the low water mark.