5 Reasons to Move Back to Nova Scotia (And 1 Reason to Stay Where You Are)

 

Helen Earley 5 Reasons to Move Back to Nova ScotiaMy husband and I moved back to Nova Scotia after living our entire Life Without Kids overseas.  Although I grew up in Halifax, after having lived “away” for so long, I still grapple with the idea that maybe we’re not permanent. Maybe we will go away again. Maybe this isn’t exactly where we belong.

The constant feeling of being unsettled goes deep. My parents and I are immigrants of the 1970’s, and most of our relatives are still  all over the other side of the pond. Hubby’s family is unsettled too. In the 1960’s they emigrated from the UK to Australia as “10 pound Poms“, only to return to Blighty 2 years later, jaded and homesick for damp houses and rosy winter cheeks.  What was it that made them want to leave England for a “better life”? What drew them back?

Now that we’re back in Halifax, we often visit my sister and her husband in St. Margaret’s Bay. Unlike me, my sister and her husband never left, except to go to Calgary for 6 years, where she spent the whole time complaining that everything in Halifax was better, and he made oodles of money. When they got back, guess what? Everything had been so much better in Calgary (said she)…and my brother-in-law?  Well, he traded his cowboy boots for a pair of waders; his Audi for an outboard motor. Finally, they both settled back, as if the whole experience had only been a long, dirty, fairly lucrative weekend.

My brother-in-law is from Cape Breton, and like most Cape Bretoners, he has a house and a family there too, as well as on the mainland. I like spending time with my sister and her husband because, despite their brief affair with Alberta,  their Nova Scotia-ness makes me feel connected. With them, I feel vicariously local. Like I belong here.

Last weekend, they took my daughter and her cousin out on the boat, to one of the Islands in St. Margaret’s Bay. The girls spent just under an hour exploring the sandy beach, climbing the rocks, before zooming back home for an evening barbecue. When I saw the day’s photos (see photo above) I knew we made the right decision to bring our children up in Nova Scotia.

And so, as summer arrives, I think of all the reasons we are happy we moved back. Here are the top 5:

1. The Ocean
In Nova Scotia, you’re never more than half an hour away from the sea, so they say. But there’s more than just water. I love our ocean for its sand, its boulders, its fat, brown seaweed. There are many amazing shores in the world, but I want my kids to know these beaches.

2. The People
Like many small places, it does take a little longer to get everything done. And yeah, sometimes I would like to be anonymous. Here, you see someone you know every 3 minutes. But it’s great when your husband stops by Lawton’s to pick up some milk on his way home from work, and the cashier tells him the wife already bought 2 litres of 1% and a litre of the Lactose-free this afternoon, and yes, she bought bread, so he can put that back too.

3. Our Backyard
It’s big, it’s green and it’s usually full of kids. We have about 10 trees, a shed, a play house, a cool hill, and a swing set. Try buying that in Calgary for the same price! The neighbours do not give a hoot how often we mow the grass, and they always talk to us over the chain-link fence, which is so old and damaged, it’s hardly a fence at all. Good fences do not make good neighbours here. Good people do.

4. The Traffic
There is none. The worst you get is a 60 second wait at a set of lights, or possibly some congestion on the bridge, but it’s nothing compared to anywhere else in the world.

5. My Parents
A lot of women move back home when they have kids, dragging their poor husbands along with them, and I am no exception. I don’t know what I would do without my parents. In my twenties, I didn’t care so much about being a travel-orphan, but now that I’m 40 and they’re 70, I am so glad they’re close.

And the number one reason I wonder if we should leave again?  It’s pretty simple:

1. Jobs
I’m not going to “labour” this point (haha), but since we moved back to Nova Scotia six years ago, neither my husband nor I have been able to get a permanent job. We’re not lazy, we’re not unqualified, we’re not unrealistic and we’re not in the film industry. We’re just in Nova Scotia…and you know what? Life is actually really hard here sometimes. Although we love the ocean, we worry about money every day, and like many other “term” employees, we face uncertainty, and unemployment, every single year.

So, my advice to young families: Come back! Life is great here, and you’ll get a grand house and an enormous backyard for pennies compared to other world cities.  But before you return, make sure you  tuck away some of that big city cash, because although Nova Scotia has plenty of space and beautiful beaches, there’s no money here.

Did you go away and come back? Are you thinking of coming home? Did you make buckets of cash out West? Please share your experiences. I would love to hear about them.

x East Coast Mum

110 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Move Back to Nova Scotia (And 1 Reason to Stay Where You Are)

  1. Hi there,
    Me and my family are looking to move to Canada from the UK sometime in the near future (hopefully). We are looking at either Alberta (specifically Edmonton ) or the outskirts of Halifax NS (Possibly Wolfville or Kentville).
    My husband is a Carpenter/Joiner and researching the Edmonton area offers many more possibilities for his trade but the housing you can get for your money in NS is second to none i’m looking through thinking these are dream homes that living in the UK would never be a possibility for me but i could buy a house outright and a beautiful one in NS at that.
    We have 2 young children who at the moment are only 5 and 3 years old, which of these do you think would give the children the best quality of life as they are what are important?
    I realise that getting a job offer in Alberta is more of a likelihood than NS so im prepared for starting out in Alberta but i was wondering if we go to Alberta would it be worth uprooting the kids again for a life in NS after a year or so?

  2. Hubby and I are trying to make the decision whether to go back or not. He’s not Canadian so it’s only ‘going back’ for me.
    I miss the sea and the nature so much. So, so much.
    But I’m terrified of the job prospects. We both have pretty decent jobs right now and to leave them for complete uncertainty is terrifying.

  3. I loved your article and what timing. My husband and I have just decided that after 16 years in Alberta that we want to move back to Nova Scotia where we are both from as is all our family. However we are finding that people who live there are telling us not to move! They say there are no jobs, crime is bad and that the health care, in the way of wait times is awful. My Husband hoped to go back to school and there seems to be lots of post secondary education. We also have a son that will be graduating before we move. I worry about his opportunities. Any advice? We are having second thoughts.

    • If you are looking for a good paying job, with excellent benefits and a great pension, perhaps the two of you should apply online to one of the Michelin plants. The plants in Bridgewater and Waterville can’t get enough workers. I lived in Ontario for 18 years, and saw advertisements in the Halifax Chronicle Herald for Michelin and applied online from Ontario. Now I am working full time making a good wage, and enjoying the peaceful life back home. Houses are much cheaper here than in Ontario, electricity and insurance are also less expensive. Groceries and gas are all at the same level, cost wise, as they are in Ontario. No more fighting traffic jams, or temperatures 40 degrees plus or minus in summer and winter.
      True, if you are living outside of Halifax, public transportation is non existent (except in the Annapolis Valley), but even when living in London Ontario I owned a vehicle and barely used the available public transit options.

  4. Thank you ao much for this post!
    I too struggle to feel “settled”. My family is stretched to each end of Canada and spackled in between.
    I was born and enjoyed my childhood in beautiful BC. But moved to Ontario just in time for my teenage years.
    I have always missed the ocean and beaches and have never lost the feeling of not being where I belong. Moving back to BC just isn’t a financial reality for many different reasons (auto insurance, housing, and health insurance…ouch!).

    I am still in Ontario and have a family of my own. I work part time as a hospital ward clerk. Husband drives for a moving company. My parents live in Newfoundland now. Miss them dearly and wish I was closer.
    I yearn for the ocean. I am lucky enough that I get to fly to Newfoundland almost yearly for a visit to family and the sea salt air. But I still have that itch of just getting out of Ontario for good. Especially since the cost of housing in our area is increasing drastically (we rent so our options are very limited more and more), we have no family nearby, and we just feel an overall unhappiness. We need a change.
    So after stumbling on your blog, pictures, and honesty, I would like to hear your opinion on the job market for health office admins/hospital clerks. Finding full time (well paid) in Ontario is nearly impossible. My husband could get a work transfer to Halifax so the move would be easy. What would be potential financial setbacks if we were both able to find full time permanent employment? Housing seems to be quite cheaper than out west. But what about heating, gas, food prices…what are the biggest financial burdens in Nova Scotia?

    • Thanks for your comment. It’s my understanding that health care is one of the fields where it’s easier to find work, but it’s all unionized- even admin and clerical, so it would take time to work your way in. That’s what I think… The name of our health care authority is Capital Health. You could do some creative googling there, for some answers.If you both get full time work, you’ll be fine, I think. The only setback would be that, depending on your level of equity, you might have a hard time leaving. We pretty well ruled out any ability to buy again in England once we cut those strings… I wish we’d bought a small flat as an investment before we left! Best of luck with everything!

  5. Good day everyone, I am currently living in Montreal and have an opportunity with work to take on a position in Halifax. I had a friend who spent of few years in Halifax with the military and has loved it, has anyone else from Montreal did the move? and what were the pros and cons? I really like the the whole idea of the the east cost life, ocean… I did a little research and found housing rental/buy is higher than Montreal, I am currently married and working on building a family, any suggestions on a great family neighborhoods? constantly find myself looking at different neighborhoods without really knowing where to look. I am looking for a safe and family oriented neighborhood, I will be at the Halifax airport and well my wife will be looking for work.
    Thank you in advance for your suggestions and help.

    • Thanks for the comment Jonathan, and good luck with your search. If you need a realtor, I can recommend Stacey or Heather from the Falkwin Group (Royal LePage). They are true professionals. Tell them I sent you!

  6. Thanks for this article! Seriously considering it myself. Grew up in Truro, but have lived in Vancouver for 8 years now. It’s a tough call because I’m a marketer/designer/photographer, which Vancouver has been good to me for. And the not so harsh winters have been great too! But this past winter, we had more snow and sun than usual (it’s normally all rain!), and while everyone else was complaining, I found myself loving it.

    While only 27, my dad is now almost 70 years old, and is sick. And it’s killing me being so far away. I can also afford to buy a home there, and can’t even purchase a 1 bedroom condo anywhere near the city here.

    Only downside is that I think I would miss the mountains very badly. As well as the close proximity to Oregon and California…

    Thanks again for this!

      • Madam welldone good job. Please am doing this express entry and am planning to get the nova scotia provincial nominee program. I want to know if coming to nova scotia for me and my wife is a good choice. We are just in our 30s. I am a database analyst and a my wife is a nurse and a midwife. We are currently living in Nigeria. Please give an advice.

        • Dear Ebenezer, On the surface, you will find that Halifax is one of the friendliest cities in the world, but once you settle here, you may face challenges. Work is not abundant; we are one of the poorer Canadian provinces, so there will be lots of competition when you get here. On the bright side,it sounds like you might be in the right field (nursing and tech). Once you arrive, you have to really get out there and introduce yourself to people personally. In my opinion, that’s the best way to get a job. Thank you for reading, and best of luck with your immigration plans! Oh, and p.s. watch out for the winters! Brrrrrr. – Helen :)

  7. Hello Helen, Loved your post. Wanted to check the prospects of finding a permanent job in and around Halifax in the field of Human Resources. I am presently in India and thinking about immigrating with family. I was given to understand by a Canadian Consultancy that Nova Scotia is the only province where Human Resources professionals are in demand. Presently I an employed in a global IT Consulting Company as a HR Manager.

    • Hi Karim and thank you for your comment. Yes, HR is an area that is in demand, but do be aware that although this ticks a box on the immigration form, it does not mean that when you get here, you will find a job. My neighbour, a high-level HR professional from Jamaica, emigrated last year and has only found temporary work, much below her level of expertise. On the other hand, her husband, a chef, has had no problem finding work! So, yes, Nova Scotia is looking for HR people now…but we’re a small city- with hundreds of applicants vying for each position, so do be prepared for a back-up plan too. My neighbour did mention that there is a Canadian Immigration forum, which has a good discussion thread about this. I must remind myself to get the link from her so I can share it – maybe it can be googled. Anyway, Best of luck and I am so glad you liked my post. :)

  8. Amazing article! I am thankful I found such a honest opinion about the life in N.S.
    We are green oriented family with 2 small kids. :) We love the nature and being out among it. We are thinking about the decision to move to Halifax for reason 1, 3, and 4 :) We are immigrants without families across the pond, currently residing in Montreal where french happened not to be our thing. Although, the main reason to look for relocation are the kids environment and the language.
    My hubby is IT specialist (not programmer though), I am in between carriers none if them in demand across the country I am graduate Geography in Europe and I have Canadian diploma in Interior design… So I’m just collecting diplomas for the last 10 years.
    Struggling to make the right call is not easy since we know no one, neither we have so called important connections for success.. 😉 We are planning а research trip to Halifax this spring. We will see what happens.
    Greetings!

    • Good luck with your journey, Isabelle! When you visit Halifax, check out Family Fun Halifax.. I edit that website. It will give you some ideas of fun things to do with the kids while you are getting a feel for the place. :) Helen

  9. Hi! Good read! We are planning to move to NS and wondering how it is to settle in Dartmouth? How much is the standard cost of living, car and house rents? Thank you!

    • Hello Eirob, Dartmouth is a great place to settle – it’s a little more affordable than Halifax. You can buy a good second-hand car (maybe 5-6 years old) on http://www.kijiji.ca for about 6-7k. House rents vary, but again, Kijiji is a good place to start. Some areas are more desirable than others. For example, while North End Halifax is a nice area to rent a house, North End Dartmouth (just across the bridge) is rough and transport links (bus) are poorer. Good luck with your search!

  10. I really loved your article! I actually came to your blog desperately googling bloggers from the east coast to get a clear sense of the lifestyle. My boyfriend and I live in Ontario right now – both having grown up around the busy Toronto area. We are both hard workers but ideally want a simple well balanced life and a place we could eventually have little ones. I enjoyed everything you had to say about reasons to stay but the no job market really scares me.. You see, we are drawn to the idea of east coast living so we can have a stable 9-5 job that is slower paced and rewarding, a small house we can afford, and a community that will become our new family since we won’t have any. We will both be in our mid-20’s and getting close to early marriage and children.. I want to work in a bank and my boyfriend works with computer development. Based on my story, do you think we could find what we’re looking for in Nova Scotia or any other parts of the coast? I’d really appreciate your input! Thank you

    • Dear Jess, it’s hard to say- Moving anywhere is a strain on a relationship. When kids are added, it becomes really important to have family nearby. But yes- you might fall in love with Nova Scotia. If you already have equity in a home, or some investments, you can probably get some nice property here… but you won’t be able to generate the income you would in Ontario. This is only my opinion… Anyway, I am so glad you enjoyed my article. I will try to write more about “what it’s like to live in Nova Scotia”. The topic seems to have had an impact on so many people. In the meantime, you can check out the website that I edit: http://www.familyfunhalifax.com. Best of luck with your decision! :) Helen

    • Do not move to the Maritimes if you have no family or relatives there. We lived there for 12 years and during holidays, long weekends it was a very lonely time. We had lots of friends, kids had a great school and we both had good jobs. Having lived in Ontario now and previous I find it much easier to make friends and are open to being much more hospitable. And, yes I do have lots of family here too. Martinets are friendly to visitors but not outsider IMO. Furthermore, my husband family lived in another part of Atlantic Canada and we visit often.

  11. Have enjoyed reading through the various ‘stories’ and comments. We too are considering a move from Ontario to NS. We are young retirees and not looking at the job market. I spent 3 yrs in NS with the Air Force, loved it and have felt drawn back every moment when moving is discussed. Trying to find the ‘right’ fit, near health care but not in a city. Near activities but not wishing to be smack in the middle of a densely populated area. Wanting to be nearby ammenities but not in the midst. Guess we are looking for somewhere we can have an opportunity to fit in to the community and activities and not spend all our time on house maintenance.

    • You’re spoiled for choice, PJ- and lots of bang for your buck here. I would start looking on the South Shore, around Hubbards – there are actually some gorgeous condos for sale there. Little pricey by our standards, but easy maintenance! Congratulations on your retirement! :)

      • Thanks for your response. I have been reading around a few different blogs & sites and they all seem to have recurring comments. Heating, water and insurance costs are all expensive. There seems to be bias in smaller communities to folks coming in from other countries or Canadian Provinces. Also there is the concern of purchasing a home and then being unable to sell when the time comes. While homes and land are inexpensive, it does raise concerns around cost of living and feeling welcomed. Will check out St Margarets & Hubbards as they come highly recommended. Thank you for your input.

        • I can vouch that insurance, electricity, and home prices are all less expensive here than in Ontario where I had lived for almost 19 years. Heating is a different issue, it all depends where in the province you are located as to what you would be using to heat your home. We use wood heat with some electric back up. Those who heat using furnace oil are the ones paying the most. Natural gas is only available to Halifax residents. Gasoline, food costs, and cable/internet are priced roughly the same, but rural areas of the province can have poor to no internet access. However, all of the smaller towns and larger communities have decent internet access.

  12. Hello,
    Thank you for your article.
    I am considering moving to nova scotia to attend university to get my nursing degree and working as a RN and purchasing a house.
    Curious about life for teenagers and nursing opportunities.
    Hopefully within a yr I’ll be there

    • Hello Paige, and thank you for reading Eastcoastmum. Lots of jobs in healthcare here, from what I am told. Life for teenagers depends on the teenager. You can visit http://www.familyfunhalifax.com for some idea of the activities and festivals around Halifax. Good luck with your plans! – East Coast Mum :)

  13. I’ve so enjoyed reading all the comments, and this post. Since my first visit to Nova Scotia 20 years ago (I’m 48 now) I have wanted to live there – mainly for the geography and the people. We currently live in Ontario (York Region, outside Toronto), own a house that is now worth more than we paid, near family, with good jobs – but we aren’t happy here! We dream of an East coast life, and visited last summer again to scout out the possibility of moving. Maybe we’re delusional?

    We are planning on moving our family (we have two sons, ages 10 and 12) before they start high school. I have a good job prospect in Sackville, NB and have been focusing our relocation on Amherst, NS. I will be paid less than here, and do worry because the cost of living isn’t that different. We will make money on our house, but I was hoping to save the bulk of that for retirement. I think my husband should be able to find work in Moncton, but again, we don’t expect that he will make the same salary. We are all so excited about this change and have a very positive attitude, however, I am trying to find the balance between living my dream without setting ourselves up for disaster. Most of what I read about living in the Maritimes focuses on how bleak it is – I am encouraged when I read posts like this that also share the positive. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

    • Laura,
      My family and I are in the same boat as you are, and are around the same age as you with boys the same age as well so it is nice to have come across your comments. We have been seriously thinking of moving to NS however I am so leery and excited all at the same time about the whole idea.
      We currently live in a small town outside of Woodstock, ON and it is a great community to raise children, however we feel we may live a more comfortable and less stress free lifestyle if we make the move to NS.
      With the prices of houses at the moment we will over double our original purchase price which will just about put us mortgage free with other debt to clear. With that being said, I don’t want to have that great mortgage or almost mortgage free feeling but at the same time feel so financially stressed if we can’t afford to live on the much lower income then we are use to. I am a licensed Bookkeeper/Payroll Practitioner and my husband is a licensed Auto Mechanic, and if I go on the ‘indeed’ job search site to see if there is anything in NS for both/either of us there is jobs available.
      I however worry for my boys. Once old enough I need to know they will be able to work part time jobs until finished College/University and then be able to have careers of their choice. I don’t want them to want/have to move somewhere far away simply to make more money in order to get somewhere, and then I possibly won’t see much of them after that (or any grandchildren they may have). This is my biggest fear :( I have family here that I am not comfortable leaving behind, however I am trying to think of what’s in the best interest of my boys and their future.
      Did you happen to do the move, and if so how are things for you now?

      • Hi Vicki,
        Thanks for your comments. We certainly share the same struggle – I too am very concerned about the future for our boys if we make the move. Additionally, our family is here too. The call of the ocean and East Coast life is strong, but not strong enough for us to abandon the practicalities of living. For these reasons we are still here – just north east of Toronto, but looking to move to a smaller community on Lake Ontario, with the goal of benefiting from some of the small town community feelings that the East Coast does so well. This way we can both commute, as well as make money from the sale of our house – a compromise I realize, but sits more comfortably with my need for security. Hope that helps!
        Laura

  14. I’m so glad I stumbled across this post!! I’m in Australia and after 13 years, we have decided to come back, and I am leaning towards Halifax. I’m from NB originally, but I can’t remember how to speak French and my Aussie hubby has no hope! So I am thinking Halifax might be a good choice. I love all the things you touched on, and all the comments. We are a little concerned about employment though. We have no idea about employment opportunities, and I would love to hear any opinions- he is a senior level manager currently in hospitality. He’s worked in a club (leisure centre/casino type) environment for the past 13 years, and is currently the F&B Manager. He manages multiple food and beverage outlets and a large conference centre. I’m a HR Coordinator with lots of admin and recruitment experience. I’m also a mum to 2 little ones, so while I do work, I am hoping not to have to do it full time….

    I left NB and went to Alberta when I was 18 and once I had a taste of the $$ I swore I would never return to the maritimes. But isn’t it funny how having kids makes you yearn for your family and your roots?!

    Now we are planning this trip, it’s hard to decide whether we (more him) should pursue a high paying career- which would mean going west and still being a million miles from family- or if we should ‘simplify’ and see how we go on the East Coast.

    We are used to quite a comfortable life here, but we don’t have any savings or anything, so we will need to work and pay rent. I’d like to give it a try. I guess we can always pack up and head west if it doesn’t work out… :)

    • Lisa, Thank you for the comments and best of luck with your move back! I would say that you’ve been far away long enough. Halifax is a great city- move here and be poor …. but close to family! :)

    • After 25 years of working and living from coast to coast I decided to return home when the provincial government was asking for an experienced work force to return home and promoting to other experienced workers to come to NS for the lifestyle it has to offers.
      So in 2001 I and my wife who was from Ontario and met in Calgary had decided to move to Nova Scotia.
      My wife was an experienced Administrative Assistant, and was looking so! forward to moving hear for what it had to offer as a lifestyle. My wife was a volunteer for Victims services in Vancouver for a number of years, and did Junior Achievement in Calgary for 3 years.
      This is where the story gets into the “come from away” issue. My wife had great experience in her career. The kind of experience the government was looking for to get the population growing again.
      My wife took a 6 week temp job in HRM to get her foot in the door and get things started. On her first day she was asked to remove a spiritual pendant that she was wearing from a supervisor who was wearing a spiritual pendant herself. My wife refused, but did not take it to anyone higher at that time. After the temp job was over she was relieved because it made her feel very uncomfortable.
      My wife was still in contact with a former boss from Calgary who suggested that she go to a career consulting company in Halifax that he had used in the past. Long story short the male consultant told her she had great skills, but because she was a woman it would make it hard for her to enter the workforce in NS. Needless to say she did not employ their services. I guess this was foreshadowing of things to come as all of a sudden it felt like we were back in the mid-20th century.
      We had both lived and worked all over Canada and could not believe that in the 21st century things like this could happen in the work force… we blew these two incidents off as a very isolated and let it be, as opposed to making a complaint of either incident to the companies or human rights.
      We had decided to settle in the Valley. For the next 7 ½ years my wife applied on many jobs she was skilled at and never ever got an interview for any of them, and to add insult to injury there were a couple jobs that had been re-posted within a few weeks of her applying on them. So she re-applied to them and still never got called for an interview.
      Finally after 7 ½ years of disappointment and humiliation my wife finally got called for a job interview. She was interviewed and hired by a consulting company hired from outside the province. Six months into a job she loved the Administrator gave her a hand written memo that said “I feel you have mental health issues that are causing your work to suffer” This was unacceptable. So she contacted the head office and told them about what had happened. My wife was fired when she came back to work the following Monday.
      She took it to Human Rights, and after many months and legal fees got a settlement that didn’t even come close in covering damages and costs. I just cannot believe in the 21st century that this kind of treatment happens in a Canadian Province.
      People have said to me…”oh she was overqualified it seems” How can a province expect experienced people to move here if that is the attitude? We moved here not with expectations of high pay or storming the business world. We moved here for the “Lifestyle”…and just wanted to enjoy the other things that NS had to offer.
      My intent with this next statement is not to offend or to be arrogant, but sometimes the truth can be offending and sound arrogant. Anyone who has worked outside of the east coast for over 20 years will have more experience than persons who have worked here all their life…this is just fact. So should there be signs at the border, airports and job ads posted outside of the province state “welcome to Nova Scotia, but if you are looking for work please make sure you have minimal job experience”
      We had made a couple attempts to possibly leave the province, but we decided to keep giving it a try, because we just did not want to be moving again at close to 50 and try to re-establish our careers, and by this time we really did not have the finances to do it right anyway. By conservative estimates I can honestly say that out life had been shorted $400,000.00 with lost wages, benefits, and having to spend most of our savings to survive over a 14 year period. This has been calculated using NS wage/salaries. If calculated using wages that we would have continued receiving in Calgary it would be much higher.
      I have personally discouraged people I know who have shown an interest in moving here. I told them not to bother as their careers would most likely fail or suffer greatly. I have read about very similar experience by people from online forms. I have never encountered a place where management treats employees with such unethical power, or where others are rejected for what they know, and or for being a “CFA”
      After 8 years of humiliation and rejection my wife ended up working for an online support company out of our basement for minimum wage and less than full time hours before her passing last year.
      All I can say is thank you Nova Scotia for being so welcoming…you were friendly in public, but not so welcoming in private.
      This story is not unique to us, as other CFA people have told us very similar stories. The only reason I have stayed here at this point is because of my 84 year old Mothers health.

    • I can’t imagine a more different environment than Nova Scotia from Australia. But you’ll get invitations to people’s homes. Take them up on it. And you WILL need some savings. Like three month’s salary.

  15. I am a microbiology consultant in Abbotsford, BC.
    I am planning to relocate my small business in Halifax area and I never been to Halifax or Atlantic Canada. How this city for family, school and weather?
    Any detail for life in this city will be great for family.

    • Hi Amir, thanks for your comment. Family: great! School: pretty good, depending on the area. Weather? Compared to BC, it will be a cold, slushy winter. Your car will rust! I am also the editor of a website called http:www.familyfunhalifax.com. Why not head over there to get a feel for the events and activities for families in Halifax. Best of luck!

  16. I’ve been looking for places to move to that are near the ocean and have a good community. I currently live in Colorado and I want to move to Seattle cause I love the forest and ocean and mountains all in one zone though it seems to be becoming overpopulated just like Colorado due to the legalization of marijuana. While I don’t mind the plant I absolutely do not like traffic and overpopulation.

    Anyways, I had also considered Maine due to the low cost of housing though later in life I think I’d like to consider Canada/Nova Scotia but I have no idea how to go about getting a citizenship.

    • Marry a nice Canadian girl? Seriously, though. Best of luck with your plans, Tobias. Thanks for your comment!

  17. Hoping for some advice…. is there a high school in West Dover? Also, if we started a B&B in West Dover, do you think it would be successful? Is there a lot of visitor traffic that would support us owning a B&B in West Dover? Thinking about moving from Ontario to Nova Scotia. It’s like moving to the moon. We don’t know that much about Nova Scotia or West Dover, but hear Peggy’s Cove is beautiful. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks very much.

    • Hi Scott, yes, you would get the Peggy’s Cove Crowd. It would work for sure! Students would be bussed to school. Check the Halifax Regional School Board website at http://www.HRSB.ca to see which school – probably Sir John A MacDonald, which is a very nice school! Good luck!

  18. Hi, We are from NB had to leave our home province because we could not secure employment due to the bilingual law now. In Nova Scotia 9 years, and we are leaving. Moving to Acton, Ont. Great jobs, 30 min commute to Mississauga, cost more for a house, But we went out farther, great country living with Guelph and Georgetown 20 min away,a s well as the city of Toronto if we care to go, an hour away. Just the way we like it. It does not get any better. Nova Scotia brought us much personal happiness, but unable to plan for retirement, so we will return probably in 10 years, without the struggle of getting by.

    • I’ve heard this story many times. So glad you found work and a nice home, and hope you do come back one day!

      • Hi there,
        My husband is originally from Dartmouth. We now live in Newfoundland. I was born in St. John’s but did not come back to live until my mid 40’s. My daughter came out from BC in 2006 and has been here ever since. We all have good jobs and friends… and my daughter is wrapping up her Uni education in the next 2 years. She is unsure as to what her opportunities are in the field she has studied ( geography/oceanography/ marine biology). But…We are all sick of the weather here… we never get spring and the summers are so short and winters so long ….and being taxed to death and ill-governed by incompetent and punitive governments. The cost of food is high and quality is inferior ( produce goes around the world..makes it here…is half rotten…they throw that out and then charge us twice as much for produce that lasts mere hours before it starts rotting too). Recently, the PUB has “asked for an 18% increase in electricity rates (but they’ll “settle” for 9-11 while they already have millions in a slush fund)) Muskrat Fall is about to bankrupt the entire province…they’ve closed half the libraries….laid off hundreds of civil service workers…put a 16 cent tax ON TOP of our gas tax….raised the HST to 15%…put a $3,000 levy on our heads ( pay per wage level)… Healthcare is a huge concern as the aging population grows and grows while the gov does nothing to entice the younger people to come and set up a life. They are leaving. Doctor/hospital/wait times are bad and getting worse. It costs a fortune to get off the bloody island ( a flight from NYC return to St. John’s would be $450…but from St. John’s to NYC $900….wth ???) IF you can get off.
        But ….we have decent jobs…..

        My daughter and I want to live in the same place and only very recently we have expressed to each other that we would be willing to leave (not knowing the other was thinking in that direction)!

        So …we have 2 mid to late 50-somethings and 1 30-something looking in the direction of Halifax.

        I would be devastated to make another mistake and move somewhere worse…we just want a bit of warmth…to have a spring….not be taxed to death …have a nice relatively quiet life.

        Any advice?

        PS: I hate sounding so negative – but I have put a brave face on for long enough…the PUB (Public Utilities Board) thing …was the straw that broke this camels back. BTW – they gave them an 11% rate hike. What a surprise.

  19. I love your post. We are currently living in South Africa and are applying for every job for which hubby is qualified, but we find ourselves in a catch 22 situation – need a job offer for visa application but need a visa/residency for a job offer argh:-(
    We live in a little village on the Kwazulu Natal South Coast, within walking distance of the sea, we know pretty much all of our neighbours and the only time we have traffic congestion is during holiday season, but then we have maybe a 1 – 2 minute wait at a stop sign – which is really long when you can usually simply give way then proceed lol
    Nova Scotia offers all that we dream of BUT we need a job. A stable good income earning job – have 2 teenagers (13 & 16) who are presently home schooled. I love a town steeped in history and my research on NS has shown that there is tons! Your post basically listed all of the things on my “wishlist” So my only hope is that this is where we are destined to be and that our (mainly mine, I must admit) dreams come true.

  20. We moved back to Nova Scotia (Halifax) after 8 years in Alberta (Calgary).its been 10 months…and it’s been tough… I’m working two part time jobs and he works one full/part time job and try’s to pick up odd jobs and we still just scrape by.i think we are going to move back this type of struggle especially with two kids doesn’t appeal to us…it’s very sad we will miss our family so much but feel we have no choice if we want to be able to put away for education And retirement.

    • Hi Jessica, and thanks for your comment. I feel your pain, the financial/job struggle is very real. Good luck with whatever you decide – maybe a beautiful Nova Scotia summer will make things a little brighter!

  21. I am thinking of moving back to retire. I have been in Alberta since 86. My parents lived in Pictou County and though I love the area…the pulp mill has destroyed the beaches and the air so I am looking for greener pastures. I do have relatives in that area so am torn between Caribou and Economy. I love the valley but am not that familiar with it. I won’t have tons of money because I bought here in Alberta 8 yrs ago when prices were high. I want to be close to the water and have a sister (or two) that will be retiring at the same time as I am. Would love to find an acreage large enough for 3 small homes. Maybe I’m dreaming but we are going home in July to look at areas that will appeal to us. It should be a fun trip. (We do like the look of St. Margarets Bay.) Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    • Thanks for your comment Steph. It’s wonderful that you and your sisters are returning home to the Maritimes. I really like both Economy and Caribou. Caribou has beautiful warm water and some really nice beaches, and of course you can scoot over to PEI for the weekends, but Economy is closer to the town of Parsboro, which is a lovely place. I wonder if any of our other readers have ideas for you? Comments and suggestions welcome!

  22. I love living in Nova Scotia! My husband is a carpenter, and after 12+ years in the service industry, I have recently started a career in real estate. We were both raised here. We have always been lucky to be able to find work and make a living, and now are able to for the most part, work for ourselves. Our two children are growing up learning to grow gardens and raise livestock, it’s amazing. I could not imagine a better life. There is so much opportunity here to mould this province. There are jobs, and there is also immense opportunity to be entrepreneurial, self sustained, off grid, adventurous and creative!

    • Thanks for your comment. You are in Real Estate! Dani, you should scroll through the comments. We get so many ‘real estate’ questions here! :)

  23. I’m with Bridgett. Born and raised in Seattle, my husband and I are working to sell our house and travel a bit. We have been interested in Canada but when I started to look into Nova Scotia it became serious. Looking into how to gain permanent residence. We have been trying to have kids for years but working 80 hr weeks and fertility issues – if we don’t make changes soon we will miss out. We love nature and community. I’d love a small town where you know everyone, but still can commute to a big city for a day trip. We are looking at bridgewater. Any suggestions on towns would be great!

    • If you are looking for a small town that is still commutable, I would recommend the Hubbards or St. Margaret’s Bay Area. Hubbards is about 40 minutes from Halifax. It is sometimes a pain driving into town in the winter, but the beautiful scenery, friendly people, the boating and sailing opportunities and the stunning beaches make it worth every minute on the highway. Good luck Laura. It sounds like we’re going to get a few Trump-dodgers! Although to be honest, I hope he does not win! :)

      • BTW – I sincerely apologize for my previous message. Honestly. No insult intended. I look to the future and Nova Scotia is calling me. I have visited every province except PEI & NS. My heritage is very Scottish despite the Irish version (Kearns). And am in Ottawa currently.

        What I plan to do is move to Digby region in the next 3 – 4 years. I will purchase property and live on the cheap. Probably have a lawn cutt and snow plow business or handy man.

        watt u thinks?
        William Kearns

    • I live 10 min outside of Bridgewater. And looking forward to getting away from it. Poor health services, blue collar attitudes and resistant to any change. Once a CFA, (come from away) always a CFA. I have wonderful neighbors and friends on one side, and on the other side, in 9 years those folks have never even raised a hand to wave, or smile or say hello. So, it’s a crap shoot. We are moving this Sept.

      • Yes, there is definitely the CFA thing. And yes, Nova Scotia can be a hard place, socially, especially if you move here as an adult. Everyone already has their own thing going on. Good neighbours are important, crappy neighbours can really sap your spirit. Good luck as you move on!

  24. My mother and grandmother and I are planning to visit Nova Scotia for the first time this summer. I’ve always wanted to go there since I was a kid and I’m getting more anxious and excited to visit there. I am curious though if ever I do love Nova Scotia and want to move there, is the apartments very expensive and is there at least good jobs to work there too? I don’t want to move there and be jobless and then having to move back to Quebec.

    • It depends on what your line of work is, Jane! I hope you girls have a wonderful time in Nova Scotia this summer. You will indeed love it!

  25. I’ve been living in Moncton for the past 6 years. I’m originally from Digby, NS. Jobs here are few and far between, especially if you aren’t bilingual. That’s pretty much a requirement to get work here. That’s not the only reason why I want to move back to ns. All my family is there, I miss the smell of the salt air which you don’t get here, although i’ve been here 6 years I still don’t feel at home. Being in ns made me happy especially after spending time with my family last week. The scenery and the people of ns is awesome compared to here. People in Moncton I find aren’t as easygoing and friendly as bluenosers are. I’m hoping to move back by next month. I’m really looking forward to it :)

  26. I really have had a gut feeling to move from Seattle for the past decade. So many things are being cut each year here . I have told friends that if Donald trump wins I’m paddling away from the USA . If their are not many jobs up there how do people survive ? I’ve always liked Canada as they really seem to love their community but that’s coming from someone in the states. My dream location would either be Nova Scotia or New Zealand

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Bridgett. If Donald Trump Wins, I think there’ll be a few people paddling away from the USA! Good luck with your future plans.

  27. I lived in NS before and my first son, now 15 was born there. My husband was brought up there and would like to return with me and our 3 kids. But it feels quite scary for a few reasons. Although I have been living and done my studies in the UK, I am Portuguese and would have to apply again to migration services to be able move to Canada and work there. I have worked in care in special needs education and finished a degree in mixed English law and English linguistics, as well as volunteering in advisory services etc. Any help about what could I possibly do with this? Any info would be welcomed as I will need to make a decision about going or remaining in the UK. Thanks in advance.

    • Thanks so much for your comment. I am not sure what kind of work you will be seeking in Halifax, Carla. All I can say is that it is a very competitive market. My advice is to register with Career Beacon.com for job alerts now, so you can see what kind of things are coming down the line. Also, you could check out ISANS- it’s an organization that helps immigrants to settle in. They do have an employment counsellor there. Good luck with your decision. A tough one! I will say that now (Winter 2015) is a good time to shift money over. Great exchange rate for the pound!!! :)

  28. I just discovered this article and thought I’d throw in a comment. I’ve been living in Ottawa the last two years and have literally gotten two job interviews the entire time. It’s been horrible. So I recently decided to move back to Halifax, and I’ve already had an over-the-phone interview, and multiple other interviews lined up for when I arrive. My conclusion? The job market may not be quite as rich in Nova Scotia, but its also not nearly as competitive. I’ve seen job postings in Ottawa literally looking for new graduates with seven years experience. …What? Lol. And there are plenty of programs in NS to get well-educated young people (like myself) into jobs that will turn into careers. So I’m very excited to move back to Nova Scotia!

  29. I’m American all my life and just recently received dual citizenship because of the lost Canadians act. I have been thinking of moving to Halifax, I have researched it a lot. I have enough money to live there, employment isn’t an issue. I do want to rent and I don’t want to own a car, so the areas I would live are limited by that. Is it reasonable to live there without a car? I have so many questions actually that can’t be answered quickly (health care, banking etc) but thought I’d start with a basic one.

    • The Lost Canadians Act? Interesting! I would say that yes, you really do need a car if you want to live here, although if you got a nice house near Spring Garden Road, or a nice condo at Bishop’s Landing you’d be fine. In fact, yes- check out Bishop’s Landing. On the water!

    • I’m an American (New York City) who’s owned a sweet old house on Cape Breton since 2010, and I want to retire and move there, but am, of course, finding it’s not so easy to immigrate. My grandparents were Canadian, from Nova Scotia. Ben, can you tell me about your experience with the lost Canadians act?

  30. Great read! :)

    I’m actually moving back to Nova Scotia after living in Melbourne, Australia for 11 years!! I’m terrified – but like most people I have a baby now and crave the NS life style! Not to mention the affordability! Australia is so expensive!!!!

    • Congratulations on the decision, and welcome back! The Superstore carries Tim Tams. I think Pete’s Frootique has Milo and Vegemite. You will need to bring your own Berrocca! 😉

  31. Originally from NS but having lived in the US for now nearly 16 years (Florida), I do dream about returning to NS to live. We are fortunate to own a small summer cottage on the water on the South Shore and return every summer with our 4 children. After living in the US all these years there are marked differences in culture. If we could find jobs to support living in NS with our large family (the cost of food in NS is outrageous and housing compared to FL) I would move in a heartbeat. I wonder if I would miss sunny Florida. Our kids (14 and under) ask to move to Canada all the time, but they haven’t had much winter experience or shoveling! As I get older it certainly pulls at the heart strings.

    • Thank you for your comment! How lovely to have a cottage here! (But I bet it makes the grass seem even “greener”!). No shovelling in Florida, that’s for sure! :)

  32. You could also move to small town Alberta. We get #2 and #4 here – no traffic and a chance to know everyone. Stay out of Calgary/Edmonton and the big city issues and high costs disappear. The list also misses out the number #2 reason to stay – mountains.

    • I know what you mean. I recently spent a weekend in Vernon, British Columbia- a small town, and it definitely had that same small-town feel, plus beautiful mountains and lakes. But those property prices…. whoa!

      • Living in Vancouver, BC for almost 4 years and always smile when people complain from other provinces about living costs and salaries. Last couple years prices for housing skyrocketed and there is no way I can afford to buy something here and even renting is huge issue. Car insurance is high and salaries haven’t change within 5 years. I would love to buy or rent some land in Vernon area but prices are insane and to start something seems unreal. Alberta is not my cup of tea as I like different nature and scenari. Nova Scotia in other hand seems very appealing becouse of history and ocean and beautiful old farmhouses for very affordable price. Weather seems durable. I just wondering what situation is with child care in NS? What price for daycare? Here in Vancouver 1200 cad and up plus many places are full. Gathering information from true source as seriously thinking to move there and start something and escape rat race.

        • Hello and thank you for your comments. I visited Vernon last year on a press trip and it was sooo beautiful. Yes, you can get a beautiful property in Halifax for a faction on the price. That’s certain!
          Like I say in my article, you should make your money first, and tuck lots away before you come here, in case you don’t get work right away. This depends on what you do, of course, but as teachers (and in my husband’s case, as a “come from away”, or CFA), we continue to struggle. A lot of people claim that locals usually get a job before a CFA.
          As for daycare, it’s about 900 per month, and the wait lists are long. But- if the East Coast is calling….!

  33. My partner ask me the option to move to Novia Scotia. He has a job making good money but we are still worry about money everyday because of expensive mortgage here in Regina, SK. I worked too and i can afford to pay half of the mortgage and i know we can make it but he said he don’t want us to work hard just to the mortgage cause if we are in NS or NB the money we pay for the mortgage here will give us a bigger and way better house there and could be mortgage free in few years compare to a 25years of paying here. I am just so scared to do. He’s from NB and we are going there on Christmas for him to show me the places, he’s trying to convince me to move but i am scared we will find a job like we do here or make money used to. One more thing scares me are the people, i am a Filipino and i don’t know if can find the bunch of people and friends i have here.

    • It’s such a tough decision to move anywhere, but one thing I will assure you is that the people here are so friendly, and we also have a large Filipino community. Good luck with your decision, and thank you so much for your comment! :)

    • Hi! I have been reading the comments of this post. And came across yours. I am also a Filipina with a Filipino partner too. I am crossing my fingers that my application will be submitted before 2015 ends. I am checking out Nova Scotia as I find it very interesting to live. It’s nearer to the ocean and there are many trails for hiking, too. But primarily, we also look for stability with employment, I am in the healthcare side while my partner is in an engineer. Hoping for NS next year. :)

  34. Love this post. I’m originally from Newfoundland, however spent last 15 years in Ontario with the military. Now that I’m leaving the military (within a year), my wife and I are struggling to find a place to settle with our 12-year old daughter. She, who is from Ontario, is also ready to a change. The ultimate goal of a slower pace, peace and quiet would be amazing. I’ve been to NS on multiple occasions, and absolutely love it. I have to go back to school (NSCC if possible) when I leave, to start a second career. We are just petrified in choosing a program to gain stable employment, whether it be trades, business etc. Everything you describe in with traffic, backyards, friendliness etc. would be a fantastic change from our Ottawa area townhouse (with postage stamp yard). If we can make it happen, we will be very much drooling with anticipation to get there.

    • NSCC is a great school, and a great place to start a new career. Plenty of co-op programs. And yes, if you choose to live outside the city, you can get a huge backyard here! Good luck!

  35. E-C-M: Nova Scotia seems to have two growth industries, and one steady industry. Growth – tourism and elderly care. Steady – winter preparation and defense. Given your inability to land permanent jobs, consider self employment, in a manner that addresses these industries. Tourism – look for an established business, RV park or motel, with elderly owners. Elderly care – look for a big old house that can be inexpensively made to meet Provincial standards for elderly care (usually more stringent the more patients. Find the threshold, and aim for just below that threshold.) Either way, seek owner financing, with a share of the profits paid to the seller. Plan to purchase under a ‘contract sale’ so property can easily be repossessed if you do not meet your payments (that will help ‘sell’ the seller on the idea of financing. Husband, if not immediately involved with either business, should offer insulating, caulking, snow removal. He should estimate the time to do the job, and quote based on $25 an hour. You didn’t mention a vegetable garden – get one started so you can save more money for the purchase (of the tourism related real estate) you will make.

    • Bill- you are a wise man! I think these are all amazing ideas, except for the one about caring for elderly people in a “big old house”! We have professional skills in other areas, but we know nothing of nursing, geriatrics or palliative care. But Tourism, we do know! So….when I open my “East Coast Mum’s Bed & Breakfast” will you be the first to visit?

      • “Senior housing is designed for high-functioning elders, defined as those not requiring assistance with ADLs. Senior communities are usually neighborhoods or towns (consider Sun City, the nation’s “first and finest” senior community) that are limited to people of a minimum age. They are designed for active seniors and have a variety of social clubs such as golf, arts and crafts and cards.

        While some senior communities offer additional levels of care, many are not equipped for individuals who require assistance with ADLs. Some senior communities require the resident move on, should they require this level of care.”

        A friend in Arizona is making a fortune providing housing for the elderly. Maximum of 5 elders per house, she owns OR RENTS 3 houses. Five elders, because in Arizona, at 6 the housing requirements change. At each house, she has a watchful employee on each 12 hour shift, who prepares the meal appropriate for the time, changes linens, cleans, etc. While I don’t know all of the nuances of how she does it ( not too relevant given different governments, different requirements), I do know that she is not certified for any type of heath providing. I’ll bet that 2 days of telephone investigation with the Provincial authorities, would answer the majority of your questions, and allow you to determine the feasibility.

  36. This was a really good read! I am not from Nova Scotia I was born in Manitoba and my parents moved us to Ontario when i was about 8. I hate Ontario so many people in a hurry and people are actually quite rude. I would love to move out to Halifax for a different pace of life and higher quality of life, the struggle of work doesn’t scare me and our weather is worse in the winter from what I gather. The only thing is to convince my husband to move he has a good job right now but we are still having money trouble lol. He has never left Ontario so I think it is high time he experienced life somewhere else.

    • Thanks for the comments, Jessica. Nova Scotia feels poor sometimes, but it is a really beautiful place; great for families. And the pace is definitely a little slower than Ontario! Maybe we’ll see you here one day. :)

      • I really do hope so, I have not been able to get the east coast out of my mind, and once I have my mind set on something I don’t stop until I get what I want. I find I am antsy where I am and really need a change. I want to love where I live and feel that sense of community.I don’t have that feeling here.

  37. We managed never to leave, and hope we never have to make that choice. Grateful that most of my family (all of my sisters) managed to make Nova Scotia home. But it does take some sacrifice. There’s always more money out there. Newer homes, better healthcare, even Ralph bucks, but I don’t think any amount of money could replace being able to see my parents (or have them here to help) in under 2 hours. Walking to the lake. Being a short drive to shore. Great schools (at least in my suburb). And so much more…

    But if money doesn’t keep frighten you away, the February-April weather weather just might.

  38. Nova Scotia is beautiful and you can enjoy a wonderful life full of family, friends and nature. A pay check is harder to come by but the quality of life is unmatched! I have just recently started a career in real estate because I love it here so much, and I want to be a part of helping people move back here after being away. My husband works out of province but in 2 years we have been able to pay off all our debt and are now mortgage free. We are working towards going off grid and raising livestock and gardens with our two young children. I believe you can make a beautiful life here, you just have to know what you are in for!

  39. I’ve been dreaming about coming home since I finished school in Ottawa in 2003 but I had a god job and huge student loans and I’ve been paying off debt for the last 12 years. I’ve almost let it sink in that I’ll have to change my dream to trying to move home when I retire, or I’ll take a huge pay cut and move home in 3 years when my debt is finally gone. The second option sounds much more appealing :).

  40. Teaching jobs are very hard to find from what I’ve heard. A few of my friends are struggling with finding anything permanent in that line of work in Nova Scotia. The banks however tend to be hiring constantly if thats something you are interested in.

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