Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Canada

Sable Island, low, sandy island, c.25 mi (40 km) long and 1 mi (1.6 km) wide, off N.S., Canada, ESE of Halifax, near the edge of the continental shelf. The crescent-shaped island is the exposed part of a sand shoal that stretches northeast-southwest for more than 100 mi (160 km). The island was known to mariners in the early 16th cent., and a small French semimilitary colony was there from 1598 to 1603. Known as the “graveyard of the Atlantic,” Sable Island is a major hazard to navigation and has been the scene of many shipwrecks; at the time of Canadian confederation the island was made the specific responsibility of the national government. It has two light stations and a weather station; from the 19th to mid-20th cent. it was the site of a lifesaving station. The island, which is now a national park reserve, is a breeding place for seals and has wild horses and many species of birds. There are natural gas wells offshore.

See B. Armstrong, Sable Island (1981, 2d ed. 2010) and M. de Villiers and S. Hirtle, Sable Island (2004).

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