Brier Island is the western-most part of Nova Scotia and the southern end of the North Mountain ridge with Long Island lying immediately northeast; both islands constitute part of the Digby Neck. Brier Island measures approximately 7.5 km (4.7 mi) long and 2.5 km (1.6 mi) wide and is made up of basalt.
The island’s shoreline measures approximately 25 km (16 mi) in length. Brier Island is separated from Long Island by the 0.5 km (0.31 mi) Grand Passage. The ferry leaves Freeport at the top of the hour, and costs $5.00. The ride across Grand Passage to Westport, Brier Island takes 10 minutes.
The local economy is driven by the year-round commercial fishing industry and the seasonal tourism industry, which is largely focused on whale watching tours. The island has one general store(that includes gas pump and cafe), one hotel and several hostels, bed and breakfasts, and gift shops. The island contains the fishing village of Westport which is connected to Freeport on Long Island by a ferry operated by the provincial government.
Brier Island is frequently inundated by fog and has witnessed 57 recorded shipwrecks. The island has “a lighthouse per mile” with the Northern and Western lighthouses on the island, as well as the Peter Island lighthouse in Grand Passage; all are automated and are operated by the Canadian Coast Guard. The wreck of the barque “Aurora” in 1908 provided the lumber for the Westport Community Hall.
The Canadian Coast Guard operates CCG Station Westport in the village. The rescue cutter CCGC Westport provides 24-hour per day, 7 days per week response to search and rescue incidents within the eastern Gulf of Maine and the southern and eastern Bay of Fundy.