The Birch Family: Raising Haligonians

 The Birch Family in Lunenburg, NS

The Birch Family in Lunenburg, NS

After living in Calgary for eleven years, Sarah and Dana Birch decided last year that it was time to move back home to the East Coast so that they could raise their two young children (Amelia, age seven, and Ewan, age two) close to family.

Sarah, a former lawyer and corporate businesswoman, recently turned full time parent (and local adventurer!), is from Rothesay, NB; and Dana, an international tax accountant and partner at KPMG, is from North Bedeque, PEI, so they settled on Halifax to raise their family due to its convenience to both of their extended families.

 Sarah, Amelia and Ewan exploring the apple blossoms in the Valley

Sarah, Amelia and Ewan exploring the apple blossoms in the Valley

Sarah's sister lives in Fall River and her best friend lives in West Bedford so that was even more incentive to move to the area. They bought a house in the Olde Bedford area last August and have been enjoying the community, and the surrounding area, to its fullest since

"One of the benefits of Halifax for us is that it is, in many ways, the heart of the Maritimes," explains Sarah. "Halifax has a thriving business community large enough to allow Dana to practice international tax, which allowed for our move 'home.'  It's also a convenient place to live for my family's adventurous spirits."

 Wandering the wall at the Bedford Lions Park

Wandering the wall at the Bedford Lions Park

The Birch family has embraced their new community and have spent many of their weekends exploring with day trips to areas like the Valley and the South Shore, and weekend trips to New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island to spend time with their extended family and explore the area with their kids (you can follow along with their adventures on Sarah's instagram account by clicking here).

"We like to go downtown to take in activities such as the ECMA street party, or take in Bedford's activities, where we can meet our new neighbours. We also attend, and volunteer at, church, which has helped integrate us into our local community," Sarah says.

 Autumn fun at Noggins Farm

Autumn fun at Noggins Farm

"We had a vision of having a yard with big trees, and space for our kids to run around and play safely. We live on a cul-de-sac and it's just what we envisioned," Sarah says of her and Dana's reasoning for choosing Bedford to settle in. 

 Chicken Little ice cream

Chicken Little ice cream

They've also been enjoying local eateries and love popping down to Chicken Little in Bedford for ice cream treats, and have found a family favourite in Edible Matters on Hammonds Plains Road.

"The food (at Edible Matters) has that great "homemade" feel to it, but it's better than my own cooking!  It is kid friendly and date friendly (we have been there for both)," she says. "I consider it a hidden gem."

 The Birch Family's first trip to Peggy's Cove

The Birch Family's first trip to Peggy's Cove

They explored all through the winter and are now eager to soak in their first full summer in Halifax and the surrounding area.

 Amelia at sunset at DeWolf Park in Bedford

Amelia at sunset at DeWolf Park in Bedford

"We love being outside. We like to walk to DeWolf Park to enjoy the water while the kids play at the playground. There are always lots of families there, and sometimes we make new friends. We are excited for our first full 'beach season' here, so look for us at the beach!" she says. "Dana is looking forward to his triathlon race season - his first one of the season was in Shearwater. On rainy days, we use our Discovery Centre annual passes."

The Birches say that they hope their children love growing up in the Maritimes as much as they did and, by raising them as Haligonians, they feel confident that will happen. 

"Halifax has a real sense of community, and this is an important value that we want to teach our children."

If you have a story you'd like to share about why you chose to raise your family in the Halifax region, I'd love to hear it! Join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #RaisingHaligonians or email me at the contact information below.