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Considering move to Nova Scotia

Considering move to Nova Scotia

Old Jul 11th 2021, 3:46 pm
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Default Considering move to Nova Scotia

Hi Everyone,

I guess like many people the Pandemic has allowed for some reflection on life. Myself and my common law wife Randi had discussion about the next 5 years. A bit like when your boss asks where you see yourself in 5 years Anyways the conclusion we came too is that we are not unhappy but would like more, I will explain what that means to us. Before moving to Canada we will travelled and thats dried up to nothing and we assumed we would travel in and around BC but we havent done much of that either. We dont have a core group of really good friends here, we have some friends but not the sort of people who would bail you out of jail close friends. We have some aquaitances as Id call them and alot of people are quite flakly and superficial.

We are house poor and employers in BC seem to be happy to pay less for the same work a colleague back east would be paid more to do. The house poorness has led to not much travel either in BC or out of canada. I figure if we had even just a little bit more free income we might be able to do more and with more close friends we would be happier and likely stay here in Canada.

Im pretty sure I could get a transfer to NS ( else I have connections in NS and surrounding provinces so I think I could get a similar job and wage or possibly an increase) and we already have one friend out there that we could stay with and visit NS before committing. We had considered Australia as we have friends and family there but seems even without covid we couldnt get in due to the strict immigration shortage list and seems the same for New Zealand. Our other idea was move back to UK. We moved from Manchester to Canada but would look to outskirts of London so I could get the London paycheck without the central London living cost. But having spoken to few people here recently theres been a few folk from BC moving to NS.

Seems that housing in the right area could be cheaper and more property for your buck and so potentially less house poor.

So I have heard provincial tax is higher, no mountains just hills, healthcare not so great, winters can be harsh, but good summers, slower pace, halifax has an international airport for travel, people are friendlier, grocery costs about the same? some nice parks and beaches, good hiking trails, plenty of lakes, gas price similar, electric and natural gas more.

So those familiar with NS whats your pros and cons and would you recommend the move? pros and cons?

Figuring we try another province in BC before we leave Canada.

Thanks

Mike

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Old Jul 11th 2021, 10:48 pm
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Default Re: Considering move to Nova Scotia

Houses are cheaper, especially if you look outside Metro Halifax where you can get more land as well. But that depends on what you do and the income you can earn.

Living costs are higher. My daughter's grocery, meat and vegetable bills are higher than mine here in Vancouver (and we do not shop around for cheap deals). She does go to a good butcher to get her meats, but to the Framer's Market in Metro Halifax for veggies.

We've never compared City Taxes to see how they differ. They do get some things we don't get ............... snow clearing in winter is VERY efficient, and they even have little Bobcat-type snow clearers that clear sidewalks and lanes. I think that shows how much more snow they expect than we get. There has been a spell of about 5 years when snowfall has been less than what was usual, but there have been more ice storms, and heavy rain.

They both have good incomes, one is a teacher and one an architect, and they can't afford to fly anywhere for holidays, not even back here to BC. They camp, first in a tent but now in a high-sided tent trailer ....... her OH is over 6' and has a back problem hence the change.

They saved up for about 6 years to be able to take a 10 day trip down to Disney in Florida last March, half of which was spent at Disney but the rest staying with her in-laws in their "winter home", a trailer in a mobile park. Then of course, they had to cut their trip short and get back to Canada ASAP. They do have a nice home, the second house they managed to buy, and are slowly (very slowly) renovating.

Lots of lovely views and places to go, and easy to reach the other Maritime provinces, although expensive to get to Newfoundland.

Travel isn't cheap anywhere.

Winters can be horrendous ..... we've been over there for many Christmases and have had everything from blizzards closing roads in the mid-2000s, to ice storms with terrible black ice. Nor'easters have always been a bug bear, dating back to early centuries, and they are no fun.

Summers are the season for seeing the tail end of almost every hurricane that hits the southern US. They can still be hurricane strength by the time they hit NS, or down graded to a Tropical Storm, with very heavy rain and wind.

This very weekend, they had a storm arrive on Thursday evening/Friday morning from Quebec that had torrential rain. Then the tail end of Elsa (down-graded to a Tropical Storm) arrived on Friday evening, with heavy rain, and today they were waiting for #3 storm to arrive with heavy rain. Daughter said yesterday was only 19C, but the humidex because of the rain made it feel very much hotter.

My daughter has lived there for over 20 years, and has seen 2 hurricanes and a snow "hurricane" called White Juan because it arrived in the winter after Hurricane Juan had devastated many areas.

I would call the weather in general worse than coastal BC , with lower winter temperatures, and humidity in the summer.

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Old Jul 11th 2021, 11:33 pm
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Default Re: Considering move to Nova Scotia

Originally Posted by scilly View Post
Houses are cheaper, especially if you look outside Metro Halifax where you can get more land as well. But that depends on what you do and the income you can earn.

Living costs are higher. My daughter's grocery, meat and vegetable bills are higher than mine here in Vancouver (and we do not shop around for cheap deals). She does go to a good butcher to get her meats, but to the Framer's Market in Metro Halifax for veggies.

We've never compared City Taxes to see how they differ. They do get some things we don't get ............... snow clearing in winter is VERY efficient, and they even have little Bobcat-type snow clearers that clear sidewalks and lanes. I think that shows how much more snow they expect than we get. There has been a spell of about 5 years when snowfall has been less than what was usual, but there have been more ice storms, and heavy rain.

They both have good incomes, one is a teacher and one an architect, and they can't afford to fly anywhere for holidays, not even back here to BC. They camp, first in a tent but now in a high-sided tent trailer ....... her OH is over 6' and has a back problem hence the change.

They saved up for about 6 years to be able to take a 10 day trip down to Disney in Florida last March, half of which was spent at Disney but the rest staying with her in-laws in their "winter home", a trailer in a mobile park. Then of course, they had to cut their trip short and get back to Canada ASAP. They do have a nice home, the second house they managed to buy, and are slowly (very slowly) renovating.

Lots of lovely views and places to go, and easy to reach the other Maritime provinces, although expensive to get to Newfoundland.

Travel isn't cheap anywhere.

Winters can be horrendous ..... we've been over there for many Christmases and have had everything from blizzards closing roads in the mid-2000s, to ice storms with terrible black ice. Nor'easters have always been a bug bear, dating back to early centuries, and they are no fun.

Summers are the season for seeing the tail end of almost every hurricane that hits the southern US. They can still be hurricane strength by the time they hit NS, or down graded to a Tropical Storm, with very heavy rain and wind.

This very weekend, they had a storm arrive on Thursday evening/Friday morning from Quebec that had torrential rain. Then the tail end of Elsa (down-graded to a Tropical Storm) arrived on Friday evening, with heavy rain, and today they were waiting for #3 storm to arrive with heavy rain. Daughter said yesterday was only 19C, but the humidex because of the rain made it feel very much hotter.

My daughter has lived there for over 20 years, and has seen 2 hurricanes and a snow "hurricane" called White Juan because it arrived in the winter after Hurricane Juan had devastated many areas.

I would call the weather in general worse than coastal BC , with lower winter temperatures, and humidity in the summer.
Thanks for the valuable information
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Old Jul 12th 2021, 2:57 am
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Default Re: Considering move to Nova Scotia

I will try to be as objective as I can as my experience here, for the things I want out of life, hasn't been that great.

The province is beautiful. Depends what you are into but it has nice beaches, and a good few have warm water in the summer. I have found summers to be great in my time here but, apart from this year where we actually had a good long spring, you are looking at late May before your see greenery starting to appear. I never thought it would affect me much, but it means you have about 4 months of stable weather, maybe another two of variable, and the rest of the time is cold and nasty. The winter weather is crap - more icy than snowy. If it snows, you generally get dumped on and then it is all gone a few days later. As remarked above, snow removal in Halifax has military precision to it and is very impressive.

Halifax is a very nice city, a very pleasant place to live, but gets samey very quickly. Good local restaurants, decent pubs in the centre of town, good local breweries. Out of town, the Valley is brilliant to visit, and Cape Breton really lives up to the hype, especially in autumn.

Costs: although nothing like Vancouver etc. the prices of houses have gone batsh*t crazy recently. I can't understand why people are buying in this market. Rentals are also a bit nuts, with a low vacancy rate across the HRM. We pay less for a 3 bedroom apartment than a 2 bedroom apartment in the same building. When we move out, the next people will be paying abut $400 per month more. Food is pricey, especially during the winter, and a tin of decent beer is between $4 and 5$. Local produce, when in season, is of high quality and pretty well priced. Car insurance is a disgraceful price but understandable when you see how utterly appalling the driving standards are here.

My biggest problem here has been the working environment. It is a bit special here. It is good you have connections because that is exactly what you are going to need to get anywhere. Management I have worked with have been terrible, reactive, fighting fires all the time, and deaf to reason or ideas to improve things or get better results. I would ask lots of questions on this score if you have any sort of career ambitions.

Not sure what else I can add. I guess all I would say is visit, if you can, and have a really good reason why you want to be here. Not sure what you mean by house poor but if you have a property to sell in BC, you will likely get a much bigger house here for similar money.

If you have any other questions, I am happy to answer them.
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Old Jul 12th 2021, 3:19 am
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Default Re: Considering move to Nova Scotia

Originally Posted by Tumbling_Dice View Post
I will try to be as objective as I can as my experience here, for the things I want out of life, hasn't been that great.

The province is beautiful. Depends what you are into but it has nice beaches, and a good few have warm water in the summer. I have found summers to be great in my time here but, apart from this year where we actually had a good long spring, you are looking at late May before your see greenery starting to appear. I never thought it would affect me much, but it means you have about 4 months of stable weather, maybe another two of variable, and the rest of the time is cold and nasty. The winter weather is crap - more icy than snowy. If it snows, you generally get dumped on and then it is all gone a few days later. As remarked above, snow removal in Halifax has military precision to it and is very impressive.

Halifax is a very nice city, a very pleasant place to live, but gets samey very quickly. Good local restaurants, decent pubs in the centre of town, good local breweries. Out of town, the Valley is brilliant to visit, and Cape Breton really lives up to the hype, especially in autumn.

Costs: although nothing like Vancouver etc. the prices of houses have gone batsh*t crazy recently. I can't understand why people are buying in this market. Rentals are also a bit nuts, with a low vacancy rate across the HRM. We pay less for a 3 bedroom apartment than a 2 bedroom apartment in the same building. When we move out, the next people will be paying abut $400 per month more. Food is pricey, especially during the winter, and a tin of decent beer is between $4 and 5$. Local produce, when in season, is of high quality and pretty well priced. Car insurance is a disgraceful price but understandable when you see how utterly appalling the driving standards are here.

My biggest problem here has been the working environment. It is a bit special here. It is good you have connections because that is exactly what you are going to need to get anywhere. Management I have worked with have been terrible, reactive, fighting fires all the time, and deaf to reason or ideas to improve things or get better results. I would ask lots of questions on this score if you have any sort of career ambitions.

Not sure what else I can add. I guess all I would say is visit, if you can, and have a really good reason why you want to be here. Not sure what you mean by house poor but if you have a property to sell in BC, you will likely get a much bigger house here for similar money.

If you have any other questions, I am happy to answer them.
Thanks for all the info, house poor in that we have a big mortgage and add on bills that come with home ownership there is not much money to go around for other things like going out, travel, etc. How have you found it making friends and what industry are you in?

Thanks
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Old Jul 12th 2021, 5:03 am
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Default Re: Considering move to Nova Scotia

But we've all been "house poor" as you call it at some point in our life.

When we bought our house in 1972, the previous owners took all the appliances with them, as agreed because they had been bought within the previous year and were much newer than in the house they had bought.

We didn't appreciate what that would mean for us, nor did we realise that Vancouver takes its city taxes in 2 halves, one an estimate 50% in January, then the rest by July 4, after the budget has been settled. That second payment is almost always quite a bit more than the "estimate".

We only had enough credit left on our only credit card to buy a fridge.

I cooked on a camp stove on a wooden board laid over the kitchen sink so I could be near a wide-open window ......... in March! I did that for 2 months before we'd cleared enough space on the card to buy a range. We had both those appliances until they finally gave up the ghost around 2005/6.

We lived on the cheapest food we could buy for months, did laundry at a laundromat but brought the wet clothes home to hang dry in the basement laundry.

We didn't manage to buy a washing machine until 1975, by which point we had a baby girl.

Over the next 10 years or so, there were many months when there were days left at the end of the month when we had no money left. We ate a lot of ground beef in meat sauces or cottage pies, or fish fingers with home-made fries during that period. Luckily daughter loved fish fingers, so she never knew why we had them so often.

We still had friends round for dinner ............. often spaghetti with tomato and meat sauce. Red checked tablecloth, and candles in basket-covered Chianti bottles.

Housing costs above the usual income level have always been around in Vancouver, though I agree that it is much worse now than it was. We bought a smaller house in a cheaper area of the city than we had originally intended, because we wanted not to have larger mortgage. Several of our similar-aged friends got the larger mortgage, and had more trouble even than we did.

We even had the mortgage interest rate increase of the early 1980s, which went as high as 20%, though we luckily had locked in for 2 years at 15%, and the extreme interest rate was reached during that period and had dropped back down to about 14% by the time we renewed. People were quite literally walking away from their houses at that time because they could not afford the money. A guy across the street from us did that.

It took us almost 25 years before we paid off our mortgage, although we did re-mortgage in 1977 so we could build on an addition after we found that we couldn't afford to move to a slightly larger house. We only paid off the mortgage then because OH's mother died and we inherited some money from her.

It was really only in the 1990s that we had more of a discretionary income.

Our holidays were mainly camping in a tent, in Canada and the US. Air fares were helped for a time in the 1970s and '80s because the airlines had a campaign that a husband flying to a business meeting could take his wife for 50% off, and there were cheaper rates for kiddies under 2 and under 10 (I think it was).

We understand what you are going through, and can sympathise, but you should also accept that it's nothing new.
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Old Jul 12th 2021, 2:57 pm
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Default Re: Considering move to Nova Scotia

Originally Posted by Mikeypm View Post
Thanks for all the info, house poor in that we have a big mortgage and add on bills that come with home ownership there is not much money to go around for other things like going out, travel, etc. How have you found it making friends and what industry are you in?

Thanks
If you have a decent amount of equity in your home, it may make sense. But do some very serious research on the housing market. There is a big debate whether this is an aberration (in which case some people are going to be in serious negative equity soon), the beginning of a trend in net immigration and a concomitant lack of supply (covid and catch ups on new starts), or a market correction in the upward direction that never really occurred in NS (i.e. property was undervalued). For what it is worth, my view is that, in general, it has gotten silly and there are going to be tears. Feels very much like Northern Ireland back in the 2000s.

In terms of industry, I am a financial planner (I was an IFA in the UK).

As for making friends, we have plenty of acquaintances, some of whom could turn into good friends if we were not so stand offish. And the reason we are being that is because we were never sure about staying here long term. For us, therefore, that is not really a problem.

We have two main issues: one is my career and the other is getting to travel. I have seen all of Nova Scotia and been to Ontario a few times but never made it out of Canada except to attend a funeral in Northern Ireland. It is quite pricey to get anywhere interesting from here and, of course, it takes time which, combined with the paltry holiday allowance, makes it challenging.

That is our personal experience so take it for what it is. Again, I would think very carefully about what you want out of the move and why, as best you can, you think NS can provide it.
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Old Jul 12th 2021, 5:06 pm
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Default Re: Considering move to Nova Scotia

In terms of making friends ............. it can be just as difficult to make new friends if you move around in England!

Canadians are just like we were ............. we had friends made back in Kindergarten or nursery school if we were lucky, certainly friends dating back to elementary school, high school, university and work, as well as the kids living next door or up the street.

I didn't make any new friends in the local community when I moved to another city for university although I had, and still have, university friends. It was hard when I moved to another town in another city to work. I had to push myself to join a club in the town .......... most of the teachers were married, at least 10 years older than me, and well-settled in their lives.

Transfer that over here, Canadians have their close circle of friends made back in Kindergarten or elementary school, as well as their university friends, and those university friends can be even closer than we were in the UK because of the Fraternity/Sorority friendships, although only a small %age of Canadian students actually join those groups, they are still close. Then there is the closeness of hockey or soccer.

When you marry, you "inherit" the other person's circle of friends ...... which may also include ex-boy or girl friends.

An incomer has to try to break into those circles somehow.

I truly, honestly, did not find it any easier back in the UK than I did when we moved here, although we did find OH had a couple of colleagues who became our very close friends until they died in recent years.

OH had always been involved in rugby back in the UK, so he got connected with the local rugby scene.

You really do have to put yourself out a bit more. The "going to the pub or out for a meal with workmates" after work s much less likely here, largely because of the distances that some people travel each day to get to work.

The Maritimers are very close with family and friends, I might even say insular in many ways, and could be even harder for "incomers" than it was here in BC.

In some respects, their attitude to incomers can be similar to what we found with the locals when we had our cabin ............ the "incomers" there were mainly from Europe who fell for the similarity of the countryside to cowboy movies, with ranches and huge expanses of uninhabited land, and bought up ranches and business back in the 1990s and early 2000s.

in the process the cost of land and houses rose rapidly, and priced locals out of the market.

In the 2000s, Europeans were buying water frontage property in NS (and possibly other Maritime provinces), because it was so much cheaper. In the process, not only did they drive up the prices but they also owned the beach down to low tide level. Thus locals were driven out of the market, and also prevented from walking on the beach.

Go back a hundred years, and Maritimers were largely cut off from elsewhere, living in small fishing or logging communities, with very close familial ties.
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Old Jul 12th 2021, 10:11 pm
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Default Re: Considering move to Nova Scotia

My experience with Canadians is that they are superficial and very flakey. What is with that?

Mikey - I hope you find what you're looking for.
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Old Jul 13th 2021, 1:49 am
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Default Re: Considering move to Nova Scotia

Originally Posted by jackinthetree View Post
My experience with Canadians is that they are superficial and very flakey. What is with that?

Mikey - I hope you find what you're looking for.
That has never been my experience, in over 50 years.
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Old Jul 13th 2021, 6:11 pm
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Default Re: Considering move to Nova Scotia

Originally Posted by scilly View Post
That has never been my experience, in over 50 years.
50 years is probably long enough to be an inside and out fully fledged Canadian
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Old Jul 13th 2021, 6:53 pm
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Default Re: Considering move to Nova Scotia

Flaky people hasnt been my experience either, I have some really truly great friends in NS.
I am not sure either whats going to happen long term with real estate prices here but everything is going, fast and for over asking price which is already higher than is normal for here.
I am an accountant working for a company in industry and hubby is a sheriff and we have been able to hit up florida for a vacation every year bar last year thanks to Covid. Its obviously not cheap but its manageable. Having said that if I had a second house here, like a cottage, as many do, we couldnt have that vacation too.
I have found some terrible managers here and not such great companies but also some really excellent ones. People are culturally different to the UK but to me thats to be expected.
Good luck in your decision making.
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Old Jul 13th 2021, 7:23 pm
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Default Re: Considering move to Nova Scotia

Yes you are right. There are many truly great folks in this country. i guess it's just hard to get close to many. Things are so expensive, we want to stay but we will see what happens
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Old Jul 13th 2021, 9:24 pm
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Default Re: Considering move to Nova Scotia

Originally Posted by jackinthetree View Post
50 years is probably long enough to be an inside and out fully fledged Canadian
I meant, in case you did not understand, that I had NEVER come across a flaky Canadian in my over 50 years here.

Many flaky Brits, yes.

Many flaky Americans, yes.

Some flaky Australians, yes.

but not flaky Canadians.
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Old Jul 13th 2021, 9:32 pm
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Default Re: Considering move to Nova Scotia

Originally Posted by Howefamily View Post
Flaky people hasnt been my experience either, I have some really truly great friends in NS.
I am not sure either whats going to happen long term with real estate prices here but everything is going, fast and for over asking price which is already higher than is normal for here.
I am an accountant working for a company in industry and hubby is a sheriff and we have been able to hit up florida for a vacation every year bar last year thanks to Covid. Its obviously not cheap but its manageable. Having said that if I had a second house here, like a cottage, as many do, we couldnt have that vacation too.
I have found some terrible managers here and not such great companies but also some really excellent ones. People are culturally different to the UK but to me thats to be expected.
Good luck in your decision making.
I agree.

My daughter was very surprised to see how much her first house was being advertised for, it went on the market a few weeks ago, came off the listing within a week. Neither of us has found out what it actually sold for, but asking price was in the mid-400 thousands, which would be about twice what daughter sold it for 10 years ago.

Daughter and OH had done a lot of major renos during their first year in the house (2004/5). It looked as though very little had been done inside, except for re-painting a couple of rooms, although there were quite big changes to the front and back gardens.

Nothing to be the reason for that huge increase in asking price. I doubt it would have been anywhere near that level a year ago.
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