Forget nightlife, it's daylife that makes this rural community so popular
‘There’s tonnes and tonnes of things to do,’ says new Liverpool resident Heather Smith
After years of people packing up and putting Nova Scotia's Queens County in their rearview mirrors, the area is starting to see moving trucks return — this time they're unloading new people eager to put down roots.
Heather Smith and her husband are two of them. The retirees didn't move to the town of Liverpool for the quiet life, they moved to become part of the community's happening social scene.
"Here there are a lot of people who are retirement age that are from here who live here and they're really active," said Smith. "There's tonnes and tonnes of things to do."
Since moving to Liverpool last July, Smith has joined the Seaside Strummers, a ukulele group, and her husband has joined a curling club that practises three mornings a week.
The couple moved to Liverpool in July after trying to retire in southwestern Ontario.
"There really didn't seem to be things out there for retired people to do," Smith said. "You know, a lot of activities are geared around things that happen in the evening or things that happen with children."
Smith and her husband aren't alone in picking Queens County. About 30 or 40 new families have decided to move into the area in the last few years, according to David Dagley, the mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality.
That trickle of new blood was enough to double the number of deed transfers in the area in the last two years.
"When residents are saying, 'I'm seeing so many people I don't know,' it's a good thing," said Dagley. "It indicates to us that we're doing the right thing and we're gaining ground."
The county has a lot of ground to recover. When the Bowater Mersey pulp and paper mill in Liverpool shut down in 2012 many people lost their jobs and had to leave to find work.
Dagley said things started to turn around partially because of new jobs being created in the area attracting new people. One of those new employers is Aqualitas Inc., which is growing marijuana at the old mill site.
There's also been an effort to attract more retirees to the region. One of the people spearheading the effort is Peter Ripple, who set up his own website retiretoliverpool.com. More than 7,500 people have visited the site since it launched in 2016. Ripple said about 80 to 90 per cent of his monthly traffic comes from new visitors.
He said it's hard to determine how many people have moved to the area because of retiretoliverpool.com, but he has been contacted by at least a dozen who wanted to come after visiting the site.
That's how Heather Smith found out about Liverpool and why she ended up buying a house there.
Ripple said the friendly people and beautiful scenery are part of the reason people want to stay in Liverpool.
Liverpool was used to people coming and going when the Bowater Mersey mill was open, Ripple said, and residents don't look at newcomers "sideways."
"No they don't, they welcome them," he said.
The lower cost of living also attracted Smith and her husband who could more easily afford a home in Liverpool than in Ontario.
But it was the sense of community and the way of life that really drew Smith in.
"It's just a really different lifestyle, it's a really pleasant thing," said Smith. "I have to remind myself when I get out in the car, you know, if I'm really stressed out or something to slow down because I'm in Liverpool. And in Liverpool you just slow down and take it easy."