Lake Banook is the first natural lake in the Shubenacadie Canal Waterway. It is located in Dartmouth and is directly connected to Lake Micmac.

Like the rest of the Shubenacadie Waterway, Lake Banook has been inhabited by the Mi’kmaq people for thousands of years. This lake was the first in a series of lakes that the Mi’kmaq used as a marine highway through the interior of the province, portaging (carrying) their canoes from one body of water to the next. Its name fittingly comes from the Mi’kmaq word Panuk, meaning “at the opening/beginning”.

Lake Banook connects to the artificially created Sullivan’s Pond via Lock 1. During the construction of the canal, a dam was built at the south end of the lake, raising the water level by about two metres (six feet). This made the water supply for Lock 1 and the navigable depth of the water more reliable. This rise in water level also affected Lake Micmac.

Lake Banook is currently one of the most popular lakes in the province for rowing. It hosts several long-standing aquatic clubs and public docks, and its urban location makes it easily accessible. For a fun day trip, try parking near Lock 1 at Henry Findlay Park, enter the water at Lions Beach, and paddle down the lake to Birch Cove Park or Kiwanis Grahams Grove Park.

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.