Moving to Halifax - A Haven as Professionals Seek Safety

Posted: December 16, 2020

As an affordable, mid-sized city on Canada’s east coast, Halifax has always known its strengths when selling itself to the rest of Canada and the world: Friendly, welcoming residents, beautiful scenery on the Atlantic Ocean, and a laidback atmosphere that’s ideal for a balanced lifestyle far from the more frantic pace of larger cities.

In 2020, the city’s safety measures made it relatively safe during a pandemic. Halifax and the province of Nova Scotia experienced a low COVID-19 case count thanks to closed borders, and the willingness of residents and businesses to adhere to safety measures designed to keep virus infection rates low.

There is increasing interest from young talent and mid- and senior-level professionals moving to Halifax from across Canada. Real estate sales are soaring as interprovincial migration across all age groups remains strong despite COVID-19, with 3,901 people relocating to Nova Scotia from within Canada.

These features have not gone unnoticed. A recent New York Times Opinion piece entitled “I am Living in a Covid-Free World Just a Few Hundred Miles From Manhattan” painted the picture of a province that has managed the pandemic better than many jurisdictions. Although cases have risen over the past month and increased safety measures are in place, cases still remain low and are on the decline. A Globe and Mail story entitled “The urban Atlantic advantage,” outlined the results of Halifax being a safe and attractive place to live – a red-hot real estate market as more people are relocating and moving to Halifax.

Melissa Mahoney, a teacher who moved home to Halifax after 15 years in Toronto, along with her Ontario-raised husband and two daughters, ages 9 and 3, illustrates this trend.

From her home in downtown Toronto, Melissa spent an hour commuting each way to her teaching job in Whitby, in the eastern reaches of the Greater Toronto Area. Every summer she would look at real estate in Halifax while home visiting her parents, until last year her husband said “let’s do this.”

Melissa Mahoney, a teacher who moved to Halifax after 15 years in Toronto

“We knew we wanted to be downtown. We were used to walking everywhere, using Ubers and never driving in the city,” said Melissa, explaining that in September, 2019 they purchased a house on Brunswick Street in Halifax without seeing it first. The family relocated to Halifax in June, 2020, and are now renovating the former rental property.

Now working with Brightspace D2L, Melissa works remotely to train teachers to use the web-based platform with their classes; her husband works for the same employer he had in Ontario. With their children in school and daycare five minutes from home, Melissa raves about their new morning routine. “I cannot tell you how my stress levels have gone down without my commute, that has been amazing.”

Halifax isn’t just bringing Nova Scotians home, it is also increasingly becoming an attractive destination to live for immigrants. Harpreet Singh, originally from India, moved to Halifax from Seattle where he worked as an executive for Amazon.

In July 2020, he followed his wife to Nova Scotia; she had already moved to Sydney with their 8- and 10-year-old children to complete a post-graduate degree in business management at Cape Breton University. Now in Halifax, Harpreet is working for a software start-up, managing accounts and developing new business across Canada. His workplace uses a hybrid in-person and work-from-home model.

Despite not knowing anyone in the city before relocating, he says he is enjoying living in Halifax. “So far, so good—people have been very welcoming.” He and his family enjoy going for drives to Peggys Cove and Point Pleasant Park, and trying different restaurants.

“With what is going on in the world, this is the safest place to be. The warmness of people in general is one of the things that keeps us going,” said Harpreet.

Harpreet Singh, moved to Halifax from Seattle where he worked for Amazon.

Melissa also appreciates the safety and ease of living in Halifax, and loves that she has a large house with harbour views and a big backyard where her children can play. She has also become an unofficial spokesperson for the city, and has already convinced a good friend from Toronto to move to Halifax and work remotely.

Melissa also finds the pace in Halifax to be a welcome change. “It’s just nice to live in a city that says ‘okay you know what, we’re going to stop and take a moment and we’re going to breathe and then we’re going to continue on when we can’. ”

Halifax Makes People Happy

Halifax welcomes thousands of young professionals and newcomers every year who fall in love with our east coast lifestyle and enviable combination of urban and rural living.



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