10 Reasons to Love Nova Scotia, Canada.
Why I love my home province – and why you will too!
I love being from Nova Scotia. My beautiful province is so diverse; whether you want to camp in black bear territory or check out the hipster scene in our only city, there’s something for everyone. I may love getting out of here to see new places and satisfy my wanderlust, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate my amazing home! Read on for 10 reasons to love Nova Scotia – I hope you are inspired to visit!
The friendly people
Canadians have a reputation for being extremely welcoming and hospitable, and Maritimers even more so! I know we all try to uphold our good name, and I always stop to chat with tourists when I’m walking on the Halifax waterfront. A lot of businesses on the boardwalk are locally owned, such as Two If By Sea (amazing croissants), Sugah! (delicious ice-cream) and The Bicycle Thief (best restaurant I’ve ever eaten at). If you’re looking to make local friends, stop in at literally any bar in Halifax – we are all friendly, especially university students! Popular student haunts are the Dome/Cheers and the Toothy Moose.
Endless ocean views
If you love the ocean, you will love Nova Scotia. I asked my best friend from landlocked Saskatoon what she liked most when she visited, and she instantly said the ocean! I’ve grown up surrounded by the wild Atlantic Ocean but for some it’s a novelty – and here it’s gorgeous everywhere. There’s a great hike you can do at Lawrencetown Beach about half an hour from the city – see picture below. We also have a pretty famous harbour in Halifax, and the ferry is a great way to either see the views or just get across! The ferry is always full of locals commuting to work and tourists getting the experience.
Nova Scotia was one of the first places in Canada that was settled by Europeans, and we have a lot of history to show for it! Our harbour has meant we’ve always been a very important port for settlers and trade, and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic downtown is a great way to learn more about our past. My favourite part is the Titanic artifacts – there’s even a fully intact deck chair that was salvaged. Halifax was one of the most important ports to help rescue passengers, so we have a deep connection with the tragedy. Checking out Peggy’s Cove (pictured) is also a must do. Lighthouses are so important to us to keep ships from running aground, and this is our most famous one. The views are beautiful and the tiny town is a glimpse into quintessential fishing community life.
More seafood than you could ever eat
As I mentioned, we are surrounded by ocean – which means we have some pretty killer seafood! You can get any seafood you want locally caught and it’ll often be very fresh caught that very day. If you’re into lobster it’s here aplenty and we’re definitely known for it, so it’s much cheaper than a lot of places. A lot of people come here to eat clams as well, and if you’re interested you can even go clam digging yourself, just make sure to check that it’s permitted at a specific beach.
If you’re coming to Halifax, come during the Buskers Festival every summer! The whole city gets even livelier and I discover something new every summer – this year I stumbled upon a fair during my lunchtime walk. At the Buskers, world-class performers come from around the world and put on incredible shows with talents like firebreathing, contortionism, and comedy. It’s free to watch but tips are recommended, and the atmosphere during this festival is tangibly exciting.
The Cabot Trail
The only specific destination on this list, the Cabot Trail is an unbelievably gorgeous drive up on Cape Breton Island! It’s four or five hours from Halifax but definitely worth alloting at least 4 days to this. This is an awesome place to try the aforementioned lobster! Cape Breton Highlands National Park has some of the most beautiful autumn foliage in the world, and you can try lots of adventure activities like sea kayaking and whale watching. If you’re coming here, you must road trip up there. It was a highlight for my family, I know that! Google it – you’ll be agog.
I think it’s an urban myth, but it’s been said that Halifax has the highest number of bars/pubs per capita in all of Canada – and I’d believe it! Although it’s two months until my 19th birthday – the drinking age here – I’ve heard awesome stories about all the bars in Halifax! Friends recommend the Toothy Moose and Your Father’s Mustache. However, you’re basically good going anywhere in town. Whether you want an upscale club Pacifico, a Maritime pub Your Father’s Mustache or a party bar The Dome, you’re set.
I attend university in the Annapolis Valley, and while I don’t love small town life, I LOVE the valley. I could cook for a week using all local food, and by cook I mean boil vegetables and either undercook or overcook them. We can get almost everything we need in our own province, which makes the culinary scene here pretty awesome – and sustainable! From my house, I could probably walk to vineyards, apple orchards, corn fields and many other farms. Our local wine is world-famous, definitely check out Jost and Luckett Vineyards.
For such a small province, Nova Scotia has a ton of universities and colleges. I attend Acadia University and am constantly impressed with the quality of the institution. We can definitely hold our own when it comes to academics. If you’re in the Annapolis Valley for the day, stop in and take in Wolfville’s adorable Main Street. While you’re here you can check out Acadia. The KC Irving Environmental Science Centre has beautiful botanical gardens and the study room in the building feels like something from another world.
The art scene
I’m not hugely into art, but Halifax especially has an amazingly vibrant art culture. I was wandering downtown with a friend last summer when we came across Nocturne Art Festival; it was very different from anything I’d seen and very cool. The high student population means there’s always something new going on and you’ll never be bored.