Discovering Halifax: A Guide to Life in Nova Scotia’s Coastal Gem

Published on: April 15th, 2024

Moving to a new country or city is always a significant decision, filled with excitement and a bit of anxiety. If you’re considering a move to Canada and have your sights set on the charming coastal city of Halifax, then this blog post is tailored just for you.

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Peggy`s Cove Lighthouse at Dusk, Nova Scotia

Halifax offers a compelling blend of affordability, quality of life, and a welcoming community that makes it an ideal destination for settling down. Whether you’re drawn to its scenic coastal landscapes, diverse cultural scene, or promising career prospects, join us on a journey to discover why Halifax is more than just a city—it’s a place to call home.

Embracing Coastal Charm

Halifax’s coastal location is a defining feature of life here, offering breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, picturesque harbours, and scenic waterfronts. Residents enjoy a laid-back coastal lifestyle, with opportunities for sailing, kayaking, beachcombing, and scenic drives along the rugged coastline.

As one of Canada’s oldest cities, Halifax boasts a rich history reflected in its well-preserved historic sites, museums, and heritage buildings. Explore the iconic Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, stroll along the historic waterfront boardwalk, and discover the stories of the Titanic at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Amidst these historic charms, modern amenities, trendy shops, cafes, and restaurants offer a vibrant urban experience.

Halifax is a cultural hub brimming with artistic talents, music festivals, theatre performances, and art galleries. Experience live music at local pubs and venues, attend cultural festivals like the Halifax Jazz Festival or Neptune Theatre productions and explore contemporary and traditional art scenes across the city.

The three churches of Mahone bay, a small fishing village in Nova Scotia

Nature enthusiasts revel in Halifax’s natural playground, with parks, trails, and outdoor activities for all seasons. Explore the scenic landscapes of Point Pleasant Park, hike along the rugged coastline of Peggy’s Cove, or escape to nearby wilderness areas for camping, hiking, and wildlife encounters.

Halifax is a city of distinct neighbourhoods, each offering its unique charm and character. From the historic charm of downtown’s cobblestone streets and bustling waterfront to the trendy vibes of North End’s artisan shops and cafes, and the family-friendly suburbs with parks and community centers, Halifax offers a variety of living options suited to different lifestyles.

Decoding the Cost of Living

Housing in Halifax

One of the first things that comes to mind when considering a move is housing affordability. Halifax, compared to other major Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver, offers relatively affordable housing options. The city provides a range of housing types, from apartments and condos to detached homes, catering to various budgets and preferences.

In the city center, a one-bedroom apartment typically ranges from CAD 1,700.00 to CAD 2,495.00 per month, offering proximity to amenities, universities, and employment opportunities, making them desirable for students, young professionals, and families alike.

In suburban areas outside of the city center, prices generally range from CAD 1,300.00 to CAD 2,090.02 for a one-bedroom apartment. These areas often feature larger living spaces, family-friendly neighbourhoods, and access to parks and recreational facilities.

For those looking to put down roots and invest in homeownership, Halifax’s real estate market offers a mix of properties ranging from condominiums and townhouses to detached single-family homes. Home prices can vary widely based on factors such as location, size of the property, age, and amenities.

In central Halifax and sought-after neighbourhoods like the South End, West End, and Hydrostone, the average price of a detached home typically ranges from CAD 400,000 to CAD 800,000 or more, depending on the property’s features and condition. These areas offer proximity to downtown, historic charm, and access to parks, schools, and cultural attractions.

Suburban areas such as Dartmouth, Bedford, and Sackville offer more affordable options for homebuyers, with prices for detached homes starting from CAD 300,000 and going up based on factors like lot size, age of the property, and upgrades.

Rush hour traffic on the MacKay Bridge at Halifax Harbour.

Transport in Halifax

Halifax boasts a well-connected transportation system, making it easy to get around the city and its surrounding areas. The Halifax Transit system operates buses and ferries, providing convenient and affordable options for daily commuting. Monthly transit passes are available for regular commuters, offering cost savings compared to single fares.

  • Bus Fares: A single adult fare for a bus ride within Halifax costs around CAD 2.75. For regular commuters, monthly transit passes are available, providing unlimited access to buses and ferries within designated zones. The cost of a monthly pass varies based on age and the number of zones required, ranging from CAD 82 to CAD 100+.
  • Ferry Fares: Halifax Transit operates ferry services across the Halifax Harbour, connecting downtown Halifax with Dartmouth. Ferry fares are included in regular transit passes, making them a convenient option for commuters crossing the harbour.

Owning a car in Halifax is common, especially for those living in the suburbs or rural areas. The city has well-maintained roads and highways, making it relatively easy to navigate by car. Gas prices in Halifax are comparable to the national average, with fluctuations based on global oil prices.

Food in Halifax

Halifax boasts a range of grocery options, from large chain supermarkets like Atlantic Superstore, Sobeys, and Walmart Supercentre to smaller independent grocers, specialty markets, and farmers’ markets. Each of these outlets has its unique pricing structures, product offerings, and promotions that can impact your grocery budget.

In the following list we’ve compiled a list of average grocery costs in Halifax, utilizing data from one of the largest crowd-sourced database for cost of living information. This platform gathers data from actual residents of Halifax, who regularly update the prices based on their daily shopping experiences. 

ItemPrice in CAD
Milk (regular), (1 liter)2.85 $
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)3.69 $
Rice (white), (1kg)6.25 $
Eggs (regular) (12)5.10 $
Local Cheese (1kg)15.81 $
Chicken Fillets (1kg)17.56 $
Beef Round (1kg)16.58 $
Apples (1kg)6.44 $
Banana (1kg)2.22 $
Oranges (1kg)5.17 $
Tomato (1kg)6.47 $
Potato (1kg)3.26 $
Onion (1kg)3.19 $
Lettuce (1 head)3.44 $
Water (1.5 liter bottle)2.39 $

Source: https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/in/Halifax

Halifax Harbour on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, Canada

Halifax offers a blend of affordability, quality of life, and diverse opportunities that make it an attractive destination for newcomers considering a move to Canada. From reasonable housing costs to a vibrant lifestyle filled with cultural, recreational, and culinary experiences, Halifax welcomes newcomers with open arms.

Before making the move, it’s essential to research specific neighborhoods, employment opportunities, immigration processes, and cultural considerations to ensure a smooth transition. Connecting with local communities, attending events, and exploring the city firsthand can also provide valuable insights into life in Halifax and help newcomers feel at home in this beautiful coastal city.

 

If you’re intrigued by what Halifax has to offer and want to know your chances to become a permanent resident here, start by filling out our online assessment.

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