Bordering Trout Lake, Birchaven is an idyllic setting for a neighbourhood of properties comprising beachfront dwellings, spacious two storey houses, bungalows, split levels and townhomes. Residents and tourists alike enjoy the nature trails, water activities and other outdoor recreation throughout the year with less congestion than the busier Lake Nipissing area across the city. The North Bay Canoe Club operates their programs from Olmstead Beach while Birchhaven Cove, also on Trout Lake, offers summer swimming lessons through North Bay’s Parks, Recreation and Leisure Services Departments.
Indoor recreational facilities include Pete Palangio Ice Arena, named for the North Bay native who at his death in 2004 was the last surviving member of the 1938 Stanley Cup Championship Chicago Black Hawks.
Northgate Shopping Centre provides Birchaven a large indoor mall with a good variety of retail amenities, restaurants and established anchor department stores. Trade schools and colleges are also found in the area, as are grade schools EW Norman and John XXIII. Good transit is available throughout the region and Birchaven also has a train station.
Birchaven has very strong ties to the Canadian air force base, 22 Wing North Bay. Award winning actor Michael J. Fox lived in the city while his father was stationed at the military base. Trout Lake even has its own legendary Trout Lake Monster purported to be similar in size and shape to the elusive Ogopogo in BC and the Loch Ness monster in Scotland. North Bay certainly has its share of celebrity and folklore.