Not everyone would consider the southeast Atlantic coast of Canada to be a great retirement choice, but for those seeking a part-time retirement (full-time retirement requires permanent resident status) in an affordable, sophisticated spot above one of the world’s largest natural harbors, Halifax, Nova Scotia is worth a look. This bustling city provides beauty, four seasons and many cultural and recreation amenities. The city is farther south than Montreal, and it has a strong senior support system. The tax situation in Halifax is not bad either as you will see on your tax preparation software when the time comes. Many actually consider Halifax to be Canada’s best kept secret.
In 1996 the provincial government of Nova Scotia amalgamated three cities, Halifax, Dartmouth and Bedford, and the surrounding rural Halifax County, into the Halifax Regional Municipality. The HRM has a total of 188 communities, many of them small and snuggled along the rugged Atlantic seacoast.
Halifax, the old city (population 125,000), is located on the Halifax Peninsula and on the Halifax Mainland to the west and overlooks spectacular Halifax Harbor. It was founded by the British as a naval base in 1749, and today it is a lush and exciting destination with an historic waterfront, fun rooftop restaurants, world-class art galleries and coffee shops. Retirees should keep in mind that the old city of Halifax is hilly and can be a strenuous walk from top to bottom.
The city is still an important naval port with ships and submarines from across the globe coming and going throughout the year. Downtown is full of historical landmarks and old-world, European architecture, as well as a New England kind of charm. Halifax is also home to the Symphony Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Opera Society, The St. Cecilia Concert Series and several universities, including Dalhousie University.
Small beaches, charming lighthouses and busy fishing villages dot the craggy coast, and residents enjoy canoeing, kayaking and fishing in the many coves and inlets throughout the region.
Within the old city of Halifax there are 7 senior centers; two more are in neighboring towns.
Metro Transit operates a full bus and ferry schedule within the HRM.
Medical care in the HRM is quite good. The Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, located at Dalhousie University, is the area’s largest and best medical facility, providing nearly all types of care.
The weather in Halifax is not for everyone. This area does not generally experience the same weather extremes as does inland Nova Scotia and much of central Canada, and that is a plus for many. Spring is wet and cool. Fall is beautiful, with warm days and cool nights. Winters are cold and wet, with rain and some snow.