Local Resident Shares Story of Backyard Bear Encounter

‘Bearhaven’ saga has happy ending, Bruin safely released into wild

By Charlie Senack

Barrhaven Independent

Barrhaven turned to Bearhaven on June 14, when a black bear was spotted wandering down suburban streets near Earl Milligan Drive, before catching a nap in a backyard on Royal Field Crescent.

At about 8:30 am on Monday, police received multiple calls saying a bear had been spotted in Barrhaven. Earl Mulligan Drive between Woodroffe Avenue and Woodgate had to be closed, and OC Transpo had to detour route 171 as a result of the sighting.

The bear, which many named Bruin, spent a good portion of the morning sleeping before climbing up a tree.

Lynette Hidocos, whose parents woke up to a call from police saying a bear had been spotted in their backyard, said it was a frightening and eventful day.

“It took a nap under our boat for a while until police woke it up by throwing rocks at the bear,” she said. “It eventually climbed up the tree and it kept climbing up over time.

“(Police) tried to tranquilize the bear, but after six times it was not working so they had to call wildlife officials. It took just one shot and the bear eventually came down,” Hidocos added. “I was scared because we usually let our dog out in the morning so that would have been bad if they saw each other. “

For nine hours, Hidocos said she and her parents watched the bear wander and sleep in their back yard. She posted a video to Twitter showing the bear fall to the group after being tranquilized. Police took four old tires from their shed to break the bear’s fall.

The adult bear, which according to police was large in size, ended up breaking a portion of Hidocos’ parents fence when it fell to the ground. The bear was finally captured at around 7:00 p.m. Monday and was brought to White Lake, about 20 minutes away from Renfrew, and 40 minutes away from Barrhaven.

The bear was healthy and in good condition, according to wildlife officials, after original speculation that the bear appeared to be injured. 

Bear sightings in Ottawa are more common than you might think. In the summer of 2020, NCC conservation officers trapped a bear that had made its home at the Britannia Conservation Area, which was also released near White Lake. In September 2018, a bear was tranquilized after wandering in the ByWard Market. That bear was also lowered out of a tree on a rope with the help of firefighters, and was later tagged and released.

In Barrhaven, a bear was spotted wandering through the park and ride at Fallowfield station in the spring of 2020. Earlier this year, a bear was also spotted in the fields at the Greenbelt Research Farm. And in 2015, a young black bear was seen searching for food near Prince of Wales Dr. and Jockvale Rd.

A day before Bruin the Barrhaven bear was spotted in the Hidocos families backyard, a similar black bear was spotted several times in the area of Terry Fox Drive between Castlefrank Road and Cope Drive. It’s unclear if the bear spotted in Barrhaven is the same one which was seen in parts of Kanata, but some conservation officials suspect it is.