Take a Journey

From Debert to Five Islands

On Rte.2 take a right turn at McElmon’s Rd, passing McElmon’s Pond and hiking trails, crossing over the TCH where you enter into the Debert Industrial Park.  At the fork in the road a RIGHT turn takes you to Belmont and left on to Plains Rd.  You’ll pass Mik’Mawey Hiking Trail and protected lands of the Paleo Indians of 11,000 years previous.  At Ventura Drive make a right turn passing by the Debert Military Museum in a former H-Hut and further down the road a hospitality centre with accommodations.  A right turn once again onto Plains road brings you into the heart of Debert.  At the Bridge make a left onto Masstown Road passing the Royal Canadian Legion,  West Colchester Arenna and Debert Airport.
You will arrive at Rte. 2 in Masstown where on your immediate right is a cairn commemorating the first Acadian Church and a bit farther along the highway, the Masstown Market complex with a full size lighthouse where you can climb to the top to enjoy the view.  
Leaving The Market, a left turn will take you onto Rte. 2 & 4 leading into the community of Glenholme.  Just past the big Parrsboro sign, a left turn winds through the community by a crafter’s bazaar and above the Folly River and Acadian Dykes to  the site of the First Presbyterian Church in Canada, now the home of Erskine United.  Genealogists flock to this cemetery searching out their ‘roots’.
Following Rte. 2, past strawberry fields and farm crops, you arrive in Great Village steeped in a rich heritage of shipbuilding.  Note the various types of architecture depicted in the buildings.
Just before the cenotaph, veer off on Station Road leading to historic Londonderry, once a prosperous iron mining town. Speak to villagers who will direct you to points of interest.
Take a return trip into Great Village, turn right  onto Rte. 2, continue over the ‘new bridge’, stop at your right and view a pergola of historic panels.  Across the highway is the historic home of Pulitzer Prize Winner, Elizabeth Bishop. In clear view is The Village Café (former historic St. James United Church).  Several antique stores are located in the village. Please note the last Gas Stop before Parrsboro.
Continuing along Rte. 2 you’ll come upon Highland Village which offers you a great view of the Cobequid Bay . You may note a temperature drop as the bay comes in view.  A small artist gallery can be found at a local farm retail outlet.  Bass fishers can be seen along the dykes of the bay.
The next community is Portaupique, where a river flows out to meet the bay and a salt marsh with Acadian Dykes greets you.  Overlooking the marsh is the Joy Laking Art Gallery, a stop you won’t want to miss.
Traveling on by blueberry fields and through the woods you enter Bass River, home of  a well known Nova Scotia stone sculptor; Bass River Museum & Heritage Kiosk, taking you back into the days of chairmaking;  Veteran’s Memorial Park and Dominion Chair Company Store (since 1860).
Leaving Bass River, you will see a sign for the community of  Little Bass River and once again a smal l river flows out through a marsh and on to the bay.
Upper Economy’s rolling hills to the bay afford wide open views of the Cobequid Bay's sculptured shoreline. Visit a delightful stained glass shop and nearby a model log home, manufactured in this community.  A famous Dutch cheese farm awaits those with a palate for perfection. Their trails and exotic animals will delight you.  
In Central Economy, Thomas’ Cove Coastal Reserve  and the Economy River Protected Wilderness Area offer spectacular views of the bay or hiking to waterfalls.  A crafters’ cooperative sells the handy-work of local residents.  The Minas Basin Lookoff offers an unparalleled view of the bay from above the village.  Cobequid Interpretive Centre provides details of the culture, history and geology of the area as well as a picnic park and traveler information.  On site is the only original WWII Observation Tower in Canada, where you can learn of its use or climb to the top for a great view of the bay and surrounding area.  Internet access is provided here. Stop at a crafter’s co-op offering something for everyone.
Carr’s Brook is a tiny community with a brook leading out into the bay where once ocean-going vessels tied up to deliver goods.  
At Lower Economy a left side trip on Soley Cove Road provides wonderful panoramic views of the bay and leads to a ‘flower pot’.
Economy Mountain is a 700 ft. climb over the Cobequid Hills leading to Five Islands and home of the best fried clams in the province, harvested from our bay.  Half way down the decline, a road to the left leads to Five Islands Provincial Park.  Along Rte. 2, yet another craft bazaar welcomes you. A short distance along the highway, a left turn on Wharf Road leads to the beach and great coastal views.  Traveling along Rte. 2 toward Parrsboro  all of the five islands are in clear view.  
At Broderick Lane in Lower Five Islands a day use picnic park and Lighthouse sit on the banks of the bay, with easy beach access.
Along Rte. 2, just after Lynn Rd. on your right, you will see the Harrington River and Cumberland County line signs. Travel on 2 more twists in the road and watch for the Blue Sac Road sign on your left. Along this road you will see magnificent  views of the islands, Lighthouse, Provincial Park and the Minas Basin.  A turning point has been created at the end of the paved road.
For more detailed information on our communities and thing to see and do, be sure to stop at The Cobequid Interpretive Centre in Central Economy.
We hope you’ve enjoyed your West Colchester road trip!

Interesting Facts
  1. Acadian Dykes
    Every marsh along our shore has remnants of old Acadian Dykes of the 1600’s. They have long since sunken considerably in the marsh mud, but can be found amongst the various marsh grasses. Farmers today use dykes to protect their land, through Maritime Marshland Assistance. Masstown had a large early Acadian settlement and the vast marshes there show evidence of those very dykes built by an industrious people using oxen, timbers, rocks, brawn and brain. At Wharf Road in Economy the Great Dyke leading to Crane’s Island is still quite visible from your car or from the top of the WWII Observation Tower at Cobequid Interpretive Centre.
  2. Fish Weirs
    A traditional way of fishing in the Upper Bay of Fundy is by use of a fish weir. Ours are unique as they are not accessed by boat, but instead the fisherman drives out over the mudflats as the tide recedes and picks up his catch from the weir, being careful to toss any prohibited species back into the rapidly disappearing waters. Weirs are located approx. 1 mile off shore and are tended twice daily according to the tides. They are made of net, 7ft. poles, and brush with a ‘trap’. Generally in April, the arduous project is begun from the cutting of poles; installing on mudflats, with a very small window of opportunity in which to work; net secured and the 8 ft x 10 ft trap built on shore and transported to the site as necessary. A completed weir can measure up to one mile in total. A visit to a fish weir is an unforgettable experience, but you must not touch anything within the ‘wings’ of the weir and must be respectful of the wishes of the weir fisherman as he has lease on this piece of property, and a license to operate and can ask you to leave at any time, after all, this is his livelihood.
  3. Debert area Trails
    MacElmon's Pond Provincial Park in Debert is a small picnic park adjacent to a pond and wildlife sanctuary. The trail is generally flat and passes through a red pine plantation, a black spruce swamp,maple, birch, balsam fir an old field, and along the pond. This is a good area to view resident and migratory waterfowl. Mi’kmawey Debert Interpretive Trails This land in Debert was the traditional hunting and camping place of the First People, the Paleo Indians, 11,000 years ago. The trail is well signed by interpretive panels explaining the significance of the site to the Mi’kmaq people.
  4. Kenomee Hiking and Walking Trails
    The Kenomee Trail System provides opportunities to explore different landscapes along the Minas Basin coastline. They include coastal and wooded hiking at Five Islands Provincial Park and Thomas’ Cove Coastal Reserve on Economy Pt. and the upland trails of the Economy River Wilderness Protected Area. Many contrasts of dramatic coastal cliffs; vast tidal expanses; beaches; waterfalls; forested valleys; steep sided gorges; ancient rock formations; old growth forests; spectacular views; wildlife, fishing and back-country camping await you.