The first lake on the system is Lake Banook. This lake (as well as Lake Mic Mac) was much smaller until a dam, which was constructed at the south end of the lake, raised the water level about six feet to the height we see at present.

The name “Banook” is based on the Mi’kmaq language and means “first lake”.   It is now the home of three world class Canoe Clubs as well as a Rowing Club. It has been the site of several world championships.  Before the invention of electric refrigerators the lake was the source of ice blocks which were used in the ice boxes of local residents and businesses. Ice was shipped as far south as the West Indies.

At the south end of Lake Banook in the area now known as Findlay Park was the site of a Mi’kmaq camp or stop over area for those travelling the waterway.  More permanent summer encampments were found in the Woodside area along the harbour and northward near the Mackay bridge.

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Aerial views of the Lake Banook Rowing/Paddling Course and Grahams Grove, Dartmouth in early morning light and mist on Canada Day 2015. Video by Dave Stredulinsky.