Why did I choose to settle in Nova Scotia and not British Columbia? This is a difficult question to answer and I'm still not sure of the reason myself.
Both have stunning beauty aplenty, although I give British Columbia an extra point for the Rocky Mountains. British Columbia also has a better job-market and better salaries. British Columbia has better weather (along the coast, at least). British Columbia has more people (4 million compared to Nova Scotia's 900,000), thus more of a tax base, thus better government services and infrastructure. British Columbia, a younger province by 3oo years, has nicer architecture and cleaner cities.
So why the hell didn't I head out west like I originally planned?
Because British Columbia isn't Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia has an abundance of culture going for it, and the people are absolutely amazing. Walk the streets of beautiful Victoria and good luck looking anyone in the eye. In Halifax, people strike up conversations with complete strangers while waiting at the crosswalk. How can you beat such friendliness?
Here are some more Nova Scotian peculiarities:
The Nova Scotia license plate reads "Canada's ocean playground"...PLAYGROUND!!!! All BC has going for it is "Super. Natural." Point to Nova Scotia!
Nova Scotia has REAL beaches. Sandy, sunny beaches (in the summer at least) with seagulls and beach cottages surround the province on all four sides. In fact, although Nova Scotia is only 900 square kilometres, it has 7000 km of beaches! British Columbia, on the other hand, has only 2,300 km of beaches, and 90% of those are rocky and covered in seaweed. Plus the water of the North East Pacific is too cold to swim in at any time of the year. Another point for Nova Scotia!
Cape Breton Island beats both Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlottes hands down. The rolling hills, the small Gaelic population in quaint little towns, the vibrant culture and the stunning coastline beats out the redneck-infested western islands where the brush is so thick you can't stray off the roads.
Nova Scotia was the end of the line for the Underground Railroad, and by 1865 over 8,000 runaway slaves from the southern states had settled around the province, bringing a vibrant and musical cultural heritage with them. Today their descendants are an integral part of Maritime society. BC doesn't have that. They didn't even exist at the time!
Nova Scotia is home to songs, ballads, odes, shanties, books and poems about love for this land. Farewell to Nova Scotia is about a soldier leaving home for the battlefields of France in 1914. British Columbia has Brian Adams and Nelly Furtado. 'Nuff said.
Nova Scotia hosts the annual Tall Ships festival, showcasing old galleons, frigates, cutters and yachts from all over North America and Europe. They even have mock sea battles in Halifax harbour, firing cannons at each other while tourists eat lunch on patios! BC hosts container ships, trawlers and oil tankers.
Atlantic lobster. Can't find that in the Pacific!
Lunenburg, Peggy's Cove, the Annapolis Valley, the Bay of Fundy...these historic towns and regions date back to the earliest colonization of North America and for the most part have been preserved in their original state. Lunenburg (pictured above) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most towns in BC didn't exist before 1890.
The Royal Nova Scotia Tattoo, an international festival of pipe and drum drill bands from around the world, happens every year in Halifax. British Columbia hosts the annual "Save The Whales" festival. Which one is more exciting?
For those who can't get enough of pipe and drum marching bands, Halifax wins hands-down!
Cape Breton's Gaelic culture. More people speak Gaelic in Cape Breton than in Scotland, and it is home to the world's only Gaelic University. BC has nothing on that!
What's Nova Scotia without the intense cultural inheritance of Cape Breton? While many of the fiddles and step dances and ceilidhs (kitchen parties) are put on for the tourists in the summer, these things are still part and parcel of many Cape Bretoners lives. British Columbia can only boast of draft dodgers and pot smokers. And even Nova Scotia has a fair share of those...
I'll let this video from Nova Scotia Tourism say it all...