Are you interested in living in Kentville? The town is best known for the annual Apple Blossom Festival, which draws crowds from across Canada to enjoy live music, events, craft shows, grand parade, and outdoor festival. The town also puts on a well-attended Multicultural Festival each summer.
While it’s not a university town like nearby Wolfville, Kentville does have a bit of a younger population than some other rural Valley communities. It’s a very active community, with a lot of residents engaging in indoor and outdoor athletic pursuits, and there’s a very high number of active living facilities in town, including multiple facilities for pursuits like mountain biking.
Kentville has all of the services you’ll need, plus quick access to New Minas (9-minute drive) or Wolfville (15-minute drive) for more selection. Hair salons, dentists, optometrists, a vet, massage therapists, grocery stores, clothing boutiques, specialty food stores, and more. There are a fair number of restaurants in Kentville–Paddy’s Irish Brewpub and Maritime Express Cider Co are two popular spots.
The Kentville Library is a stunning building that draws in both locals and tourists, as it’s the sanctuary of the former United Church of St. Paul and St. Stephen on Main Street. The space is filled with warmth, beauty, and originality. They offer programming for all ages.
Kentville’s parks and trail systems include marshlands, ravines, and urban green spaces. All trails in Kentville are shared use and open to non-motorized active transportation (with the exception of mobility aids such as motorized wheelchairs or scooters). The Kentville Ducks Unlimited Site, aka “Miners Marsh”, is a wetland habitat, home to a variety and abundance of wildlife. The site includes viewing stands, picnic tables, and interpretive signage.
Another popular spot is The Gorge, a 64.5-acre natural woodland. The Gorge has trails for mountain biking and walking in the summer and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.
Memorial Park offers three tennis courts, two basketball courts, five ball fields, four soccer fields, an outdoor pool, splash pad, a skating pond, running track, skatepark, playbox, and the Walter Wood Playground.
From swimming lessons to Kentville Wildcats baseball games, a lot of events in Kentville take place here. The town is connected to the Harvest Moon Trailway. Built on former train track, the 110-kilometre Harvest Moon Trailway traverses the Annapolis Valley, connecting the Grand Pré to Annapolis Royal.
The Credit Union Rec Complex features a full-sized indoor field facility used for soccer, rugby, baseball, football, indoor model planes, and squash. The Glooscap Curling Club has more than 140 members who play in bonspiels and regional competitions. The Kentville Centennial Arena is a regional centre for hockey, skating, and community events.
Maritimers are typically quite welcoming, especially in communities with a lot of people who were not born there. Becoming active in the community is one of the best ways to meet new people. Groups like Lions and Rotary are always looking for volunteers, as is the volunteer Fire Service. There are all the usual weekly bingo nights at the local halls and community centres, cold or hot fundraising suppers, live music nights, walking, gardening, or knitting groups, and more.
I highly recommend checking out the offerings from the Valley Community Learning Association (VCLA). This is a not-for-profit charitable group that works to raise the literacy levels of adults in Kings and Annapolis Counties. They offer a range of free classes and 1-1 tutoring, and also offer some really fun workshops on gardening and other interesting topics. If you’re not interested in taking a workshop, you may want to volunteer to lead one!
Let’s talk about some of the necessities – housing, health care, schools, employment, and public transit. Kentville and the surrounding areas encompass a wide range of styles and price points, from new builds to large condos to Victorians to run-down farmhouses.
If you’re buying a fixer-upper or building new on vacant land, keep in mind that things move slower in rural areas than they do in big cities. It can be difficult to find skilled tradespeople with time in their schedule. Many people new to Nova Scotia are often shocked at how long it can take to obtain permits or secure tradespeople with time in their schedule. After all, they’re trying to enjoy the slower pace of life, which is probably the reason you’re thinking of moving here too.
In town, homes are connected to municipal water and sewer, and the property tax rate is significantly higher than in the surrounding rural area, where you’ll be responsible for maintaining or upgrading a well and septic system. Roads will be plowed reliably in town, but if you purchase land on a private road, you and the other road residents will be responsible for arranging and paying for your own road maintenance, and snow clearing.
Kentville’s Valley Regional Hospital is available for urgent issues, while Eastern Kings Memorial Health Centre in Wolfville will be your go-to spot for less urgent medical needs. Unfortunately, more than 10% of Nova Scotians are without a doctor, and it’s important to keep this in mind if you’re considering moving to a rural area.
Kentville’s P-8 school, Kings County Academy, offers both English and French Immersion streams for every grade. Kentville high school students attend North Kings Education Centre in Canning. Kentville is home to the Nova Scotia Community College’s Kingstec Campus. This new and beautiful campus offers specialty programs not offered anywhere else including robust culinary and horticulture programs.
Kentville has a good number of employers. Nearby Coldbrook is home to several industrial and manufacturing facilities, and the Michelin plant in Waterville is always hiring. You may be able to find a job in town at the hospital or one of the schools, or at one of the retail stores or restaurants, or another small business.
If you don’t drive, there is public transit in Annapolis and Kings County on major routes. The Kings Transit bus connects Kentville up and down the Valley.
That’s it for our tour of Kentville, Nova Scotia. Be sure to reach out if you have any questions.