Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > Canada
Reload this Page >

Halifax, NS in 2021

Halifax, NS in 2021

Old Jun 29th 2021, 11:07 am
  #1  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Jun 2016
Location: UK
Posts: 3
williams66 is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Halifax, NS in 2021

Hello everyone,

I've done a bit of reading around but I guess I'm just looking for an 'up to date' view on how things are in Halifax NS after the pandemic - specifically because I hear that a lot of Canadians themselves are making the move from other more expensive provinces into NS which is driving the house prices into a crisis.

In brief: my wife and I are both in our early 30s and so-far child-free but probably likely to change in the next two years. We live up north so don't have any of that 'comparison to London' stuff to consider. By virtue of an in-demand job-type I'm quite likely to be offered a permanent role in Halifax (LMIA permitting) with excellent relocation package and good wage (negotiations pending). I realise this is an extremely privileged position to be in which is why I'm not taking this opportunity lightly despite some underlying nervousness. We tried this same thing back in our mid-20s but it never panned out and we shelved the idea as things like buying a house and getting married happened - in some ways this opportunity is not well-timed but still ultimately something we've dreamt about and feels like we cannot ignore it.

First off, if there are any first-hand accounts of people who have made the move (or made the move and returned) I would love to hear them. I've read a few on these forums but they all date back a few years and I'm conscious that a lot has changed in Halifax since then (post-covid, house prices and rental prices especially). I know it's a very individual thing but how have people found the quality of life? Anything of note a newbie might not have thought of from afar?

I'd be especially interested in hearing from anyone who made the move during their 30s. When we first thought about this in 2015 and during our 20s we had far fewer ties but now it feels a bit scarier with more tying us down in the UK (while still exciting). Did anyone go through having their first child after moving to NS as well - and if so what's the support like for childcare and midwives etc? I imagine having the grandparents so far away is a major downer in that situation?

We will most likely be looking to rent in Canada while keeping our property in the UK (to rent out). This for us is a safety net. We might sell later on but given the current housing prices in Canada, and with folks coming in droves from BC and Toronto, I don't think there's much point looking early on. People there currently - is the housing situation as tricky as people say?

I've already seen the ongoing thread about work/life balance which is one of my big considerations too (the lack of annual leave compared to the UK). I presume Nova Scotia is much the same in this regard, I know the Maritimes have a reputation of being quite laid back but I get the feeling the live-to-work ethic is similar country-wide?

Thanks for taking your time to read!



Last edited by williams66; Jun 29th 2021 at 11:09 am.
williams66 is offline  
Old Jun 29th 2021, 2:56 pm
  #2  
Happy
 
Howefamily's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 2,942
Howefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Halifax, NS in 2021

Hi, we moved when we were in our thirties to Nova Scotia, 10 years ago now, with two small children who were 6 and 3 at the time. Its a wonderful life here for us although its had some ups and downs of course, as would 10 years anywhere.
The real estate market is currently strong with properties selling fast often at at least $50K above already higher than normal asking prices.
I have three weeks annual vacation a year but it doesnt feel like its not enough, we have a pool so all summer feels a little vacation like anyway and we tend to go away for long weekends in addition to our week away twice a year. We try to get down to Florida in the winter months for a week but of course thats not so easy currently.
I personally think its a great place to live and love it every day.


Howefamily is offline  
Old Jun 29th 2021, 3:04 pm
  #3  
Forum Regular
 
Grimnorth's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 61
Grimnorth has a reputation beyond reputeGrimnorth has a reputation beyond reputeGrimnorth has a reputation beyond reputeGrimnorth has a reputation beyond reputeGrimnorth has a reputation beyond reputeGrimnorth has a reputation beyond reputeGrimnorth has a reputation beyond reputeGrimnorth has a reputation beyond reputeGrimnorth has a reputation beyond reputeGrimnorth has a reputation beyond reputeGrimnorth has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Halifax, NS in 2021

Williams66

Hi and hopefully welcome to NS.

We moved to Canada in 2009 (Me 42 and my wife 33yrs). We started in New Brunswick and moved to NS in 2015-2016.. Cannot help out with the child thing but hopefully can on some of your other questions.

Cost of living in general is rising pretty fast, food, clothing, petrol etc are all on the up. I cannot compare them to the grim North where I am from (South Yorkshire) as I have been out of the UK for so long. Yes housing is selling faster and in many cases for more than asking price. This has affected the availability and price of rentals, which themselves are on the up. We bought a second property in October and found after a couple of months we could get over $100K more for it, if we sold. You mention keeping your UK house but you have no idea how long you will be renting, so if you can make sure you still bring a decent lump sum with you as a safety net and you will be fine.

Canada is very good at finding ways to take money off you, especially in the first few years. Bring a credit rating with you and 3-5 months of UK bills and drivers transcripts. Not everywhere accepts them but in some cases you can get money knocked off insurance etc. NS and NB have the highest income tax brackets in North America, so brace yourself. You mention a good package so you may wish to try and source a good accountant and financial planner from day one. Ask around either on here or at work to find service providers that best fits your circumstances.

Yes annual leave is an issue, my wife had to work her first two years without any (changed employers got none for first year). It is very american based here, so holiday packages you see online are 5-7 days to fit the time off. Most people add their holiday to days off or public holidays (bank holidays) to get longer. It is funny we had 5 weeks in the UK but even when she only got 2 weeks she did not really notice the difference. She now gets 4 weeks so all good (I am self employed so does not affect me). Things are a lot slower here than the UK, so we found we were not as desperate for time off as we were in the UK. I am sure it is different for others but we are far less busy/stressed than the UK. We lived in Sussex for 20 years and it took a good 2 hours to travel 15 miles to work, which always helped fill the day.

Halifax is undergoing quite a bit of construction at the moment, which has reduced public parking and made getting around some areas a bit more difficult. When you rent, you may want to look at outer areas rather than the city center. If you are getting a car make sure you get somewhere with parking. If you are looking to move around using public transport just bear in mind the bus routes have been a open buffet for COVID infections. My wife works at Dartmouth Crossing and takes 50 minutes to get to work (about 80-90Km). Her friend lives in Dartmouth and gets the bus which can take her an hour and a half.

No one really mentions it but the culture here is different. Many people us included, look at Canada as very close to the UK in culture and ethic, but its not. If you can try and use your work contacts to generate friends for not only you but your partner. Most social groups here are based on who they went to school with or family. In most cases they do not make friends as easily as we tend to in the UK, especially in the Maritimes. They are a very insular society so the way in is through shared interests such as sports, hobbies or through existing contacts in your work. If you are at work it can be lonely for your partner so factor both of you in the planning.

Once you get used to it the Maritimes is a good place to live.

If we can be of help in the meantime just message me.

Good luck

Grimnorth is offline  
Old Jun 29th 2021, 3:10 pm
  #4  
Happy
 
Howefamily's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 2,942
Howefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Halifax, NS in 2021

Originally Posted by Grimnorth View Post
Williams66

Hi and hopefully welcome to NS.

We moved to Canada in 2009 (Me 42 and my wife 33yrs). We started in New Brunswick and moved to NS in 2015-2016.. Cannot help out with the child thing but hopefully can on some of your other questions.

Cost of living in general is rising pretty fast, food, clothing, petrol etc are all on the up. I cannot compare them to the grim North where I am from (South Yorkshire) as I have been out of the UK for so long. Yes housing is selling faster and in many cases for more than asking price. This has affected the availability and price of rentals, which themselves are on the up. We bought a second property in October and found after a couple of months we could get over $100K more for it, if we sold. You mention keeping your UK house but you have no idea how long you will be renting, so if you can make sure you still bring a decent lump sum with you as a safety net and you will be fine.

Canada is very good at finding ways to take money off you, especially in the first few years. Bring a credit rating with you and 3-5 months of UK bills and drivers transcripts. Not everywhere accepts them but in some cases you can get money knocked off insurance etc. NS and NB have the highest income tax brackets in North America, so brace yourself. You mention a good package so you may wish to try and source a good accountant and financial planner from day one. Ask around either on here or at work to find service providers that best fits your circumstances.

Yes annual leave is an issue, my wife had to work her first two years without any (changed employers got none for first year). It is very american based here, so holiday packages you see online are 5-7 days to fit the time off. Most people add their holiday to days off or public holidays (bank holidays) to get longer. It is funny we had 5 weeks in the UK but even when she only got 2 weeks she did not really notice the difference. She now gets 4 weeks so all good (I am self employed so does not affect me). Things are a lot slower here than the UK, so we found we were not as desperate for time off as we were in the UK. I am sure it is different for others but we are far less busy/stressed than the UK. We lived in Sussex for 20 years and it took a good 2 hours to travel 15 miles to work, which always helped fill the day.

Halifax is undergoing quite a bit of construction at the moment, which has reduced public parking and made getting around some areas a bit more difficult. When you rent, you may want to look at outer areas rather than the city center. If you are getting a car make sure you get somewhere with parking. If you are looking to move around using public transport just bear in mind the bus routes have been a open buffet for COVID infections. My wife works at Dartmouth Crossing and takes 50 minutes to get to work (about 80-90Km). Her friend lives in Dartmouth and gets the bus which can take her an hour and a half.

No one really mentions it but the culture here is different. Many people us included, look at Canada as very close to the UK in culture and ethic, but its not. If you can try and use your work contacts to generate friends for not only you but your partner. Most social groups here are based on who they went to school with or family. In most cases they do not make friends as easily as we tend to in the UK, especially in the Maritimes. They are a very insular society so the way in is through shared interests such as sports, hobbies or through existing contacts in your work. If you are at work it can be lonely for your partner so factor both of you in the planning.

Once you get used to it the Maritimes is a good place to live.

If we can be of help in the meantime just message me.

Good luck
'
I agree, the culture is massively different to the UK in many ways. I too was in the South of England on the Sussex/Surrey border and I do not miss the traffic at all
Howefamily is offline  
Old Jun 29th 2021, 5:20 pm
  #5  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Jun 2016
Location: UK
Posts: 3
williams66 is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Halifax, NS in 2021

Originally Posted by Grimnorth View Post
Williams66

Hi and hopefully welcome to NS.

We moved to Canada in 2009 (Me 42 and my wife 33yrs). We started in New Brunswick and moved to NS in 2015-2016.. Cannot help out with the child thing but hopefully can on some of your other questions.

Cost of living in general is rising pretty fast, food, clothing, petrol etc are all on the up. I cannot compare them to the grim North where I am from (South Yorkshire) as I have been out of the UK for so long. Yes housing is selling faster and in many cases for more than asking price. This has affected the availability and price of rentals, which themselves are on the up. We bought a second property in October and found after a couple of months we could get over $100K more for it, if we sold. You mention keeping your UK house but you have no idea how long you will be renting, so if you can make sure you still bring a decent lump sum with you as a safety net and you will be fine.

Canada is very good at finding ways to take money off you, especially in the first few years. Bring a credit rating with you and 3-5 months of UK bills and drivers transcripts. Not everywhere accepts them but in some cases you can get money knocked off insurance etc. NS and NB have the highest income tax brackets in North America, so brace yourself. You mention a good package so you may wish to try and source a good accountant and financial planner from day one. Ask around either on here or at work to find service providers that best fits your circumstances.

Yes annual leave is an issue, my wife had to work her first two years without any (changed employers got none for first year). It is very american based here, so holiday packages you see online are 5-7 days to fit the time off. Most people add their holiday to days off or public holidays (bank holidays) to get longer. It is funny we had 5 weeks in the UK but even when she only got 2 weeks she did not really notice the difference. She now gets 4 weeks so all good (I am self employed so does not affect me). Things are a lot slower here than the UK, so we found we were not as desperate for time off as we were in the UK. I am sure it is different for others but we are far less busy/stressed than the UK. We lived in Sussex for 20 years and it took a good 2 hours to travel 15 miles to work, which always helped fill the day.

Halifax is undergoing quite a bit of construction at the moment, which has reduced public parking and made getting around some areas a bit more difficult. When you rent, you may want to look at outer areas rather than the city center. If you are getting a car make sure you get somewhere with parking. If you are looking to move around using public transport just bear in mind the bus routes have been a open buffet for COVID infections. My wife works at Dartmouth Crossing and takes 50 minutes to get to work (about 80-90Km). Her friend lives in Dartmouth and gets the bus which can take her an hour and a half.

No one really mentions it but the culture here is different. Many people us included, look at Canada as very close to the UK in culture and ethic, but its not. If you can try and use your work contacts to generate friends for not only you but your partner. Most social groups here are based on who they went to school with or family. In most cases they do not make friends as easily as we tend to in the UK, especially in the Maritimes. They are a very insular society so the way in is through shared interests such as sports, hobbies or through existing contacts in your work. If you are at work it can be lonely for your partner so factor both of you in the planning.

Once you get used to it the Maritimes is a good place to live.

If we can be of help in the meantime just message me.

Good luck
Thank you for your response - great to read through and to hear a bit of context about it all.

I guess it's worth saying that house-prices here in the UK have been going through the same crazy rises in the last 12 months so if anything we might find that we come out evens by selling here. I take it banks require a couple of years credit history before they'd offer mortgages to immigrants anyway.

Really great point about the socialising and culture. That's another thing that's been worrying us a bit - we do maintain a bit of a close-knit social circle back home so the idea of stepping out into Canada as just the two of us to begin with is a little scary. That said my place of work is fairly large and I know there's a mix of locals and a fair amount of Brits (not that I want to limit myself to that niche though). I've spotted there's a board-game cafe and places for the more nerdily inclined like us!

Originally Posted by Howefamily View Post
Hi, we moved when we were in our thirties to Nova Scotia, 10 years ago now, with two small children who were 6 and 3 at the time. Its a wonderful life here for us although its had some ups and downs of course, as would 10 years anywhere.
The real estate market is currently strong with properties selling fast often at at least $50K above already higher than normal asking prices.
I have three weeks annual vacation a year but it doesnt feel like its not enough, we have a pool so all summer feels a little vacation like anyway and we tend to go away for long weekends in addition to our week away twice a year. We try to get down to Florida in the winter months for a week but of course thats not so easy currently.
I personally think its a great place to live and love it every day.
Thanks for your response! I've spotted you have a blog as well - I might give myself a read to see what kind of things you guys went through in the early days

Good point about the holiday time and good to hear it can work out with less. It's hard to put it all in context after a year of not using any holiday anyway!

williams66 is offline  
Old Jun 30th 2021, 2:31 am
  #6  
BE Forum Addict
 
Joined: Feb 2013
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 3,825
scilly has a reputation beyond reputescilly has a reputation beyond reputescilly has a reputation beyond reputescilly has a reputation beyond reputescilly has a reputation beyond reputescilly has a reputation beyond reputescilly has a reputation beyond reputescilly has a reputation beyond reputescilly has a reputation beyond reputescilly has a reputation beyond reputescilly has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Halifax, NS in 2021

My daughter has lived in the Halifax area since 1999, although she's not an immigrant to any where other than the Maritimes, she was born and raise in BC.

But it might be interesting to note that SHE found a culture shock in moving to the Maritimes. The way of life, cultures, acceptance of newbies to the area are all quite different there to what she was used to on this side of the country.

It isn't that long ago that many people in the Maritimes got their jobs because of their political affiliation ........... even down to the road digging labourers. If their party lost an election, they lost their jobs as well, and supporters of the new "in" party got the jobs.

You may still find it somewhat clannish, until you make your way into the culture.

I would note that so far as house prices to go, she and her husband sold a house back in 2010, it was back on the market for the first time last month for over double the price they sold it for ......... and it went for even more. It was interesting to see that not too many changes had been made to the house in those 11 years!

I'm interested to see that Grimnorth suggested you make your friends at work ..... the usual complaint on these boards is that work does not provide that entry to friends, as most Canadians seem to consider work and friends as 2 separate entities.

Making friends over here is actually very similar to moving to a different area in the UK .......... everyone you meet has their own group of friends from childhood, and it can be hard to break into those groups. Been there, done that.
scilly is offline  
Old Jun 30th 2021, 11:03 am
  #7  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Jun 2016
Location: UK
Posts: 3
williams66 is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Halifax, NS in 2021

Originally Posted by scilly View Post
My daughter has lived in the Halifax area since 1999, although she's not an immigrant to any where other than the Maritimes, she was born and raise in BC.

But it might be interesting to note that SHE found a culture shock in moving to the Maritimes. The way of life, cultures, acceptance of newbies to the area are all quite different there to what she was used to on this side of the country.

It isn't that long ago that many people in the Maritimes got their jobs because of their political affiliation ........... even down to the road digging labourers. If their party lost an election, they lost their jobs as well, and supporters of the new "in" party got the jobs.

You may still find it somewhat clannish, until you make your way into the culture.

I would note that so far as house prices to go, she and her husband sold a house back in 2010, it was back on the market for the first time last month for over double the price they sold it for ......... and it went for even more. It was interesting to see that not too many changes had been made to the house in those 11 years!

I'm interested to see that Grimnorth suggested you make your friends at work ..... the usual complaint on these boards is that work does not provide that entry to friends, as most Canadians seem to consider work and friends as 2 separate entities.

Making friends over here is actually very similar to moving to a different area in the UK .......... everyone you meet has their own group of friends from childhood, and it can be hard to break into those groups. Been there, done that.
Thanks - interesting to hear a different perspective on this.

The thing that strikes me most - from what you've said here - is it basically sounds like an overseas version of where I currently live which could definitely be accused of being clannish! I guess I'll take it as a positive that (as a southener no less) I managed to navigate that kind of thing once before and feel like it shouldn't be too hard to do the same again.

Likewise a lot of people from where I currently live get poached for jobs over in Halifax so there's a decent community of folks that I have a bit of an 'in' with already - especially at the place of work.
williams66 is offline  
Old Jun 30th 2021, 4:19 pm
  #8  
Happy
 
Howefamily's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 2,942
Howefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond reputeHowefamily has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Halifax, NS in 2021

Originally Posted by williams66 View Post
Thanks - interesting to hear a different perspective on this.

The thing that strikes me most - from what you've said here - is it basically sounds like an overseas version of where I currently live which could definitely be accused of being clannish! I guess I'll take it as a positive that (as a southener no less) I managed to navigate that kind of thing once before and feel like it shouldn't be too hard to do the same again.

Likewise a lot of people from where I currently live get poached for jobs over in Halifax so there's a decent community of folks that I have a bit of an 'in' with already - especially at the place of work.
I would say it depends on where you move to. I live in what is known as "the corridor" area that runs alongside the 102 highway from Enfield to Stewiacke and no one is "clannish" here. They are very welcoming to new comers. Having said that I have also heard that moving to Chester may feel a little less welcoming, which is a shame as Chester is so stunningly idyllic.
We chose here as its halfway between Halifax and Truro so that we had options for work, it was a good thing as we have always worked in one or the other, although I am currently working from home.

Yes feel free to take a look at the blog, its was written more for my mom to read although she never does lol
Howefamily is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.