Our experience with new life in Halifax, Nova Scotia 💞

My settlement experience with Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2023 🙂

We arrived in Halifax on first week of March 2023. Everything started nicely after a longest flight we just had from Vietnam. It's a 40 hours in total flight for us. We flew from Ho Chi Minh city to Seoul, transited 10+ hours there before travelling to Vancouver... It's another long transit there with 9 hours waited. Finally, we landed on Halifax on Saturday March 5th, 2023. I would share to share our journey for the future immigrant who might end up choosing Halifax just like us in term of what needed to be done in the first couple of months.

Sim Card

First and foremost, you must start with a SIM card number. Without that, you can't be accepted anywhere for appointment. We chose to go with Fido as they are among the cheapest phone providers in Canada - you can consider all others when you visit any phone stores, online or even in grocery stores. You could have prepaid plan first, then you can switch to postpaid plan later to avoid extra setup fee as we did with Fido. They have more features and also help you to build your credit score in Canada 🚀


Secondly, let's go with banking. It's the must-have before you could do anything. The below are top banks I have known in here:

  1. Scotia Bank
  2. TD bank
  3. RGB bank
  4. CIBC bank

We decided to go with Scotia bank at 6005 Coburg Rd, Halifax, NS B3H 1Y8 - they had very nice location and good review in Google map. Beside, they have a good partnership with Scene which is a collective point system of multiple brands in Canada. We were new to this point system in the beginning, then we started liking it a lot since majority of people liked this more than cash-bask program - yet, your mileage may vary. They have Sobeys as the one most important to us. We have shopped a lot here.

Each bank has their own strength when it comes to financial decision making. You should put your habit of spending into consideration before making final decision. Everything is transparent and available from the website. You should book appointment with the bank online beforehand as it's a norm in pretty much anything here.

The bank will ask for some forms of IDs in order to determine your eligibility for their service. Your provincial ID or passports are important. If you are a temporary residence, you should bring your work permit with you as well. In order to apply for credit cards, you need to be able to prove your capability of paying back to the bank such as job contract

Credit score is a huge thing in Canada. You will need it for almost anything here. Applying for mortgage, applying for car loan, apartment hunting, credit cards from stores, et cetera. One of the most common way to achieve that is having your credit cards balance paid in full each month. There are other ways to improve your credit score such as using post-paid services such as phone, internet, car, electricity, etc


Last but never be the least is apartment hunting... As of writing, it's a very crazy world here when it comes to housing. I heard from my local colleague here that there has been a huge immigration started back in 2019 of people living in Ontario to Nova Scotia. It's more peaceful, relaxing and cheaper cost of living here compared to expensive city such as Toronto. There has been a lot of construction going on across the city for newcomers. Business is booming here as many companies started to expand their business in Atlantic provinces began with Halifax city. There is so many sites for apartment advertisement, I tried for a month and have seen a lot of them. Unfortunately, not many of them are worth your time. I would like to list a few below to save you from troubles:

  1. Zumper - this app is very useful and updated compared to others. They have many information needed for your need
  2. Kijiji - this app is massive compared to others. People are posting advertisement continuously. The user interface is less friendly compared to Zumper. Yet, you will get most of what you need there

Apartment hunting here can be very different to other parts of the world where you are from. You need to apply for the apartment, they will ask a lot of questions in the application form and check your credit score as well. In reality, as long as you could prove your annual income to them. That should be it, no worry about credit score since you won't have it after couple of month using credit here in Canada

Since there is too many people moving here and few apartments available across the city. Most of property management companies are busy with filling people in the buildings instead of taking care of new applications. The demand is much bigger than the supply. Please be patient with the process as there won't be many apartments available right away when you arrive especially during the summer since it's a tourist season. Most of apartments are fully booked for travellers and what not.

I would highly recommend you to start contacting the building managers as soon as you can via phone number. Emails never worked well here in my experience since they had received a lot of them during the day. You should try to book a tour of apartment as soon as possible if they are still available since it can be filled up quickly. It's easier to start finding apartment in the beginning of the month so that you could start moving in by the first of next month. There are not many people moving in / out in the middle of the month as per my experience. Most of buildings in Halifax are pretty old and suffered from some minor problems. You could avoid that a bit by checking up their reviews online and even in Google map. You should definitely try to go for newer building if possible. I heard many people having problems with bed bugs and rats in old building...

It's also depends on your need to choose the location of your future apartment. Many people prefer downtown because it's close to everything. I found downtown to be a bit noisy and so many cars on the street even though it's close to gas station, hospital, grocery stores, etc. As of now, I prefer Clay Park the most as it's very peaceful here, not so much traffic while you can still go for everything in Chain Lake Drive - only few kilo-meters away. Walmart, Costco, Cineplex, Home-depot, Atlantic Superstore and so on are all available

There you have it guys, everything in my recommendation on how to start new life here in Halifax. I hope your family the best with your future of immigration here. Peace out and until next time 🙂

❤️❤️❤️ Be well, Be happy ❤️❤️❤️