I was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada. That makes me a “Bluenoser.” (Meh, it’s better than a brown-noser.)
I moved away for 11 years in my young adulthood, to far-off, beautiful British Columbia. David and I came back, though, when the call of home became too much to resist.
Since coming back, I have come to discover and appreciate some unique things about Nova Scotia and its quirks. Here are a few things you should know, should you ever decide to grace our shores:
1. We have a lot of beaches.
Almost surrounded by water, you will find every possible kind of shore here – from rocky cliffs and smooth granite, to red clay and white sand. Since we are talking about the north Atlantic, the water temperatures vary, though. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
2. People here are friendly, down to earth, and usually call it as they see it.
We will make conversation with anyone. You may feel compelled to share your life story with your server or the cashier at the supermarket. Get a Nova Scotianer talking and you will be there for the better part of the day. Make sure you stay hydrated.
3. Speaking of hydration, Halifax has one of the highest number of bars per capita in Canada.
4. When driving in Nova Scotia, you may think that the person in front of you is pulling over to the side of the road. They probably aren’t.
Nova Scotians have this peculiar tradition of driving AS FAR TO THE RIGHT AS PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE. Sometimes their right tires actually ride on – or actually pass – the lane marker on the side of the road. (I have a theory that this is the reason for so many pedestrian/vehicle collisions; people drive so far to the right that drivers have reduced reaction time. If you are planning on walking anywhere, this is probably good for you to know too.)
5. Be aware that we have 3 seasons: black ice, potholes, and construction.
“Give yourself lots of time.” = something we say a lot.
6. Bring your appetite.
While you are here, you need to sample the best Nova Scotia has to offer: lobster (sometimes pronounced “lob-bess-ter”,) scallops (“sc-ALL-ups”,) and other scrumptious seafood. We also have so many seasonal delights like local berries, fresh veggies, and apples. While you are here, try a donair – the official food of Halifax. (It’s like a gyro, but different.) Pack your stretchy pants.
7. You might think that a large portion of the population is named “Buddy” – it isn’t.
“Buddy” is what we call anyone we don’t know personally who features in one of our stories. For example: “Check out buddy’s hat over there,” or “I was driving in the fast lane on my way to work this morning and all of a sudden, buddy cuts me off and then lays on the brakes. I nearly rear-ended him on the Bi-Hi.”
8. There are some great places to camp.
We have treasured National and Provincial Parks for all kinds of outdoor adventures.
9. There is lots of history to explore.
Sometimes it’s almost as if you could step back in time.
10. Bagpipes are sacred and must be appreciated.
Sure, they’re loud and standing too close will make your ears ring. It doesn’t matter. Once, after being away for years, I heard bagpipes playing in Prince George, BC, and almost cried. Instant homesickness.
11. Music is very important to us.
There are many venues and genres throughout the province, but chances are at some point you will encounter fiddles. You will likely end up tapping your toes, if you’re not bouncing and stomping about the place.
12. A small, paper cup-full of coleslaw is an ample vegetable side for any fried seafood + fries (AKA “chips”) platter.
13. Our summers are humid.
Pack appropriate hair products.
14. Our falls are bursting with colour.
… which somewhat makes up for the dull greys and browns that we have until spring.
15. We have an adorable accent.
We don’t like to think we do, but… for sure. (Pronounced “fer SHORE.”)
Due to economic reasons, many folks leave Nova Scotia and move to Ontario, “go up north,” or, like I did, “head out west.” They leave in search of more jobs, better pay, new opportunities – but if they are anything like me, a little bit of Nova Scotia always stays with them.
If you come to Nova Scotia, I hope you leave with a light heart, a full belly, and a camera full of memories so that you take a little bit of Nova Scotia with you for the rest of your days.