What Are Pros and Cons of Living in Nova Scotia?

If you have landed on this page, then it is safe to say you are considering making a move to Nova Scotia and are scouring the internet for as much advice as you can get; well, you have found the right page.

Moving is one of the most stressful things you can do in your life, and moving to a place that might be completely unfamiliar to you can make it so much worse; so, to make it a little less stressful I have compiled a guide of the pros and cons of living in Nova Scotia, including some that you may not have even thought about, in order to help you understand what it entails and make the right choice.

Let’s start with the pros of living in Nova Scotia

1) The Scenery

There is no denying that Nova Scotia is a beautiful place, everywhere you go in the province you are surrounded by countryside, a hundred different shades of green (or orange in the Autumn), and rows and rows of sweeping hills. Even many of the houses add to the charming scenery due to an array of them being brightly painted, especially around the numerous docks.

This truly is one of the most wonderful things about Nova Scotia, you could travel to a new town or area every weekend and still be blown away by the sheer beauty even years later. When you have towns such as Baddeck, Digby, and Antigonish that exude the kind of beauty that is hard to find in most other parts of the world, you will be spending a lot of your time with your mouth open in awe at what surrounds you.

2) The Ocean

If you are a lover of the ocean then Nova Scotia is a great place to be, it is said that wherever you are, you will never be more than thirty minutes away from the ocean, which is fantastic in itself, but it also means that there is a good chance that wherever you are, you will be much less than thirty minutes away.

I’m sure you are already aware of how stunning the sea can be, how never loses its magic and mystery no matter how long you stare at it, and in Nova Scotia, there are so many shores that you will have plenty of opportunities to pass away the time doing just that. However, not only is the ocean something to behold, but you will find that whatever shoreline you end up on, you will also be taken aback by the combinations of the sand, the jagged rocks, boulders, the lines of trees; it all comes together to make every shoreline feel like its own little world.

3) The Community

Overall, Nova Scotia is not the biggest of provinces you will experience, and the population is not particularly high either, but the advantage of this is that you get a more close-knit community feel. The people of Nova Scotia are unbelievably friendly, it is definitely still a place where the people know their neighbors, they say hi to other people on the street, and they are willing to rally around and help the people in the community if ever there is a problem.

You will not find a single soul who has anything negative to say about the people, they are welcoming and pleasant, and you can be sure to feel like you are in safe hands while living there. Of course this also means that you will have an easier time when it comes to making new friends, moving to a new place is tough, and building friendships in a new place is even tougher, but the whole process is made so much easier since the majority of the people you encounter will be very friendly; Nova Scotia has a lot of genuine people that make the experience of living there a whole lot better.

4) No Traffic

This one might fall into the category of things you hadn’t even thought to consider, but the traffic in Nova Scotia is a definite pro, because, you see, there isn’t really any traffic to speak of. Yes, people have cars, but the amount of space is more than what is needed for the number of people that live there, therefore you end up with a constant stream of free-flowing traffic or no traffic at all.

You can guarantee that unless something goes horribly wrong, you will never waste another minute sitting in a queue of traffic while you desperately try to get back home from work, and the landscape that you get to drive through as you make your way to the shops or to the office makes every journey that much better.

It will take some time to get used to how quickly you can travel from one point to another in Nova Scotia, but once you do, you will find it hard to ever go back to living in any congestion filled city elsewhere.

5) Cheaper Housing

Nova Scotia has some of the cheapest housing in the whole of Canada, whether it is renting or buying, you won’t find many places cheaper. Take for example the capital of Halifax, and let’s compare it to Ontario’s capital of Toronto; when it comes to renting just a one-bedroom apartment in either city, you can expect to pay up to 70% more on average in Toronto than in Halifax, and the price per square meter to buy a property can be on average up to 90% more expensive in Toronto. Of course, they are both different cities, in different parts of Canada with different things to offer, but ultimately they are both the capitals of their respective provinces, and your money just goes so much further in the Nova Scotia housing market.

You can buy a three-bedroom house just outside the city of Halifax for around $200,000, and the same kind of house in more rural areas for far less, you will truly be spoiled for choice with what you can afford to rent or buy in the province., and it can definitely save you a lot of worrying if you are able to buy a house outright and never have to think about mortgage payments again.

6) Activities

Because of the nature that encompasses the province, there is always a huge selection of activities to take part in; for example, windsurfing, sailing, fishing, paddle boarding, and other water sports can be found more or less everywhere.

You can also use the hills and mountains to your advantage as a kind of outdoor gym, and spend many hours hiking the wondrous landscapes, keeping fit all for free. Finally, there is a big music scene in Nova Scotia and there are often different music events or festivals being held in one of the towns all year round, especially during the summer; additionally, a lot of bars like to showcase local talents, so you can either pop in for a drink and listen to what is on offer, or even join in yourself if you are brave enough.

7) Food

There is some fantastic food in the province, especially when it comes to seafood, there aren’t many places where you can find seafood that is fresher or tastier than some of the restaurants along the coastlines, you will never have better lobster than in Nova Scotia. As well as seafood, they have a lot of local traditional foods like their famous oatcakes, donair sauce and their delicious seasonal fruits of apples and blueberries. Oh, and as well as the food, the brewery scene has gained huge popularity in recent years so there are plenty of craft beers for you to make your way through, and of course their famous wines, you can even visit some of the wineries and watch it being made.

It is clear that there are plenty of pros to take on board, but like with all places, there are a few cons you will need to consider also;

Const of living in Nova Scotia

1) Tough Job Market

Unfortunately, one of the most common complaints from people living in the province is that it can be really tough to get a stable job. Seasonal work is often available, and during the summer you can quite easily find a job that pays well for a few months, but finding a steady job is not quite so easy. Because of the smaller population, jobs don’t become available that often, there isn’t a huge demand for work, and you can find yourself struggling a little even in one of the bigger cities.

The kind of jobs that are there are also not suitable for everyone, often construction work is needed, or given how many fishing towns there are, fishermen and boat operators are needed. If you are not physically strong enough for construction work (as not many people are, it is a tough job), or have no expertise in the fishing industry, this can add to the frustration of trying to find an all-year-round job.

2) Low Wages

Until recently, Nova Scotia had the lowest minimum wage in the country at only $11 per hour. Only a few months ago did the local authority agree to increase this by adding 55 cents per hour, it is a start but it is still not enough, especially when there have been and continue to be protests by residents all across the province who say that the minimum wage needs to be at $15 an hour in order for them to survive.

Jobs are already hard to come by, so when you do find one and get put on a minimum wage that is this low, it can feel like a bit of a slap in the face. It is true that housing is cheaper and this can go a long way to help, but unfortunately this doesn’t mean that everything else is cheaper, the cost of groceries, fuel, utilities, etc, ranges from being the same to even a little higher than other parts of Canada, so the low cost of housing doesn’t make up for the bare minimum wages.

3) Higher Taxes

Due to the economy of Nova Scotia not being stable, the residents are hit by higher taxes. The government has stated the province can’t afford a reduction of taxes, as the amount of taxes being generated by businesses in the area is too low.

Basically, there are not enough large corporations in Nova Scotia to give the government as much tax money as it needs, so residents are taxed higher in order to make up the difference. Because of this, the province has some of the highest taxes in the country when it comes to sales tax, property tax, and income tax. Expect to pay far more than people living in some of the biggest cities in Canada, and despite promises from the government at various times, don’t expect it to comes down any time soon.

4) The Feeling of Isolation

If you are more of an introvert or love to spend time outdoors by yourself, or just you and your family then this part will have no bearing on you, don’t worry; however; if you do like to be with people and attend social events whenever you have free time, then you might struggle a little bit from time to time.

There is no doubt that the people are lovely, but the problem is that sometimes you can feel like there just isn’t enough of them. There are people in the cities, but even then the cities are overflowing with people, and if you head out into the more rural parts, you can go for a long time without seeing another person.

The problem you will have is not finding good people, it will be finding enough people. During the summer months you will find that this changes a little as tourists come into town, or extra seasonal workers are out and about, but once they all leave, you can feel a big difference in numbers and the place doesn’t seem as lively as it does when they are there, and you are left with a lot of empty streets or the usual flow of workers, there is nothing wrong with this, but you can start to miss the tourists once they go.

There might be times where you feel a little out of the way, and it will take some getting used to, but hopefully, the quality of people you meet will go some way to making up for the lack of quantity.

5) Cities

If you are a city person then you can live in the capital Halifax and experience the best of both worlds of living in a city while also being surrounded by nature. But Halifax is the only major city in the whole of the province and after a while, you might get tired of living a city that isn’t as big or bustling as you want (if you like that kind of thing).

There are other cities in the province but because of their area size, or population numbers they are only classed as medium cities, such as Sydney or Truro, and the rest are all small cities with population numbers reaching only a few thousand, such as New Glasgow, Liverpool, and Amherst.

You can definitely get the city vibe, and with Nova Scotia being a relatively small place you can drive from one to another and experience the variety of things they all have to offer, but as a whole, Nova Scotia is more of a place for a quieter life than city life.

6) Transport

It is not essential, but it is certainly helpful if you have a car, in fact, you might find yourself getting a little frustrated if you don’t have a car. There is public transport available throughout Nova Scotia, but it doesn’t have the strongest reputation when it comes to being reliable, and buses out in the countryside can run a few times a day rather than a few times an hour, so if you are thinking of moving here without a car, you should reconsider so you are not ever running late for work because the bus didn’t turn up.

Conclusion

There is no place in the world that is the perfect place to live, regardless of the country or area there will always be negatives as well as positives, and Nova Scotia is no different; sure, some of the cons are things you will have to seriously consider as they will have an effect on your day to day life, but the pros are certainly not lacking.

Nova Scotia truly has some of the most stunning places you will ever see, and while this might not be enough to make you want to live there, the other benefits of living in a beautiful place with such warm people make it a strong contender for anyone thinking about moving there.

 

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Thais R

I moved to Canada in 2016. This was the best decision that I ever made. I created this website to share what I’ve learned with anyone who’s thinking of moving or travelling to Canada.

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