Bear River

What’s it like Living in Bear River?

Bear River is nestled at the furthest end of the Valley. It offers a distinct lifestyle, blending natural beauty, artistic inspiration, and a tight-knit community. Its prime waterfront location creates a stunning backdrop for daily life.

Bear River is often referred to as a village, though it lacks official recognition as one. It straddles Digby County and Annapolis County, and operates as an unincorporated area without its own municipal government or elected officials, falling under the jurisdictions of both counties.

Its population, numbering around 700, is spread across the two counties. The community relies on dedicated volunteer committees, tirelessly working to preserve the area’s natural allure, bolster local enterprises, and organize cultural events.

Art is ingrained in Bear River’s DNA. The place teems with galleries, studios, and workshops, attracting artists drawn to its tranquil surroundings and creative energy. This artistic vibe infuses the village with an infectious energy, encouraging everyone to explore their creative side.

Nearby Bear River First Nation (L’sit’kuk) offers residents the opportunity to learn and appreciate the heritage of the Indigenous community, and residents often attend events held in their community facilities.

Stroll along the village shorelines for a scenic waterfront experience that begins at Democracy Park, meanders past the wharf, a cozy picnic area, a labyrinth, and the Carol Dibble Community Greenhouse, eventually reaching a boat launch. Continue your walk behind the old schoolhouse, Oakdene, and the trailhead of the pipeline trail, guiding you toward the Annapolis Basin.

The Oakdene Community Centre has an esteemed position within the village’s heritage and contemporary culture. Initially erected as a schoolhouse during the early 20th century, it has transformed into a vital hub for the artistic community. Today, it’s home to various artist studios, providing a space where local artisans and craftspeople produce and exhibit their creations.

Bear River really is an enclave of artists. Many local artists participate in the Bear River Artists Walk, where local studios have open hours. Follow the signs in Bear River to locate the artists at work in their studios, and be sure to check the website for individual open times.

Like many small communities, Bear River is home to several small events that can draw crowds. The Bear River Cherry Carnival is held each year in mid-July. Bear River First Nation also hosts an annual harvest celebration each October, known as the Harvester’s Gathering. The Bear River Winter Craft show is an annual event hosted by the Bear River Board of Trade.

Raven Haven Beach sits just a short 15-minute drive from the village. This welcoming municipal park and campground cater to families and individuals with its wheelchair-friendly amenities. It boasts a splendid sandy beach, perfect for family swimming. Additionally, the park provides daytime rentals for canoes, kayaks, and MOBI chairs, along with a wheelchair-accessible mat for easy water entry. For added enjoyment, visitors can relish in the beach volleyball court, utilize the boat launch, and grab treats from the canteen which offers ice cream and snacks.

There are running trails, and a local runners group, the Bear River Run Club.

There is a Bear River & Area Community Health Clinic, which offers services like massage therapy. For services from the Nova Scotia Health Authority, residents would travel to Digby or Annapolis Royal. Students are bussed to schools in Digby. Access to a car is important for life in Bear River, as there is no public transit in Bear River.

In essence, Bear River isn’t just a place to live—it’s a lifestyle. Nature, art, and community intertwine here, offering a unique experience for those seeking a balance between natural beauty, creativity, and a welcoming community.