Off grid living in Nova Scotia ( The Sea Bound Coast )

Nova Scotia is located in the eastern part of Canada, much like New Brunswick this province also is rich in history. Nova Scotia is one of the first areas where the Europeans started to settle and several cities can be traced back to the beginning of the colonization of North America. Nova Scotia’s population is around 975k, and only in the past couple of years, it has seen a serious increase in population.

Nova Scotia is a good province for off grid living, although the local climate is not the best for growing crops, but you still have the possibility to grow some. Even as the local population is almost at 1 million, the population density is fairly low as most people live in smaller cities and towns. This province is excellent for generating power with solar and wind power systems, and the local authorities offer several incentives for renewable energy.

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Nova Scotia has only one city with over 100k population, the biggest cities are Halifax with 440k population, Cape Breton 97k population, Truro 13k population, Amherst 9.5k population, and New Glasgow with 9.2k residents. Halifax has held the record of the biggest manmade explosion until the invention of the atomic bomb. In 1917 two ships in the harbor collided and one of them was transporting explosives, the resulting explosion destroyed the surrounding area.

Luckily today there are strict rules on how dangerous cargo has to be transported and there have been no other major incidents in this province. Nova Scotia is a peninsula, which basically means that it is surrounded by sea, except for one small part in the north. This means that the local weather is mostly determined by the local tides and oceanic currents. From an off grid living perspective, this means that you have to choose your off grid location extremely carefully.

Although this province has almost 1 million residents, most of them live in smaller towns and cities, which is excellent if you want to live off the grid. Generally speaking, these smaller cities and towns have a lot lower costs for housing and property. If you want to check out the neighboring province to the north then check out my recent article Off grid living in New Brunswick ( The Picture Province ).

Nova Scotia climate

Generally speaking peninsulas like Nova Scotia tend to have a maritime climate, although this province actually has a humid continental type climate. Summers tend to be mild with a lot of rain and winters are cold and with a lot of snowfall. The average summer temperatures are between 57 °F and 77 °F ( 14 °C and 25 °C ), the average winter temperatures are between 16 °F and 32 °F ( −9 °C and 0 °C ). If you want to compare this province to a state then check out my recent article Off grid living in Colorado ( The Centennial State ).

Types of crops grown in Nova Scotia

The local climate in Nova Scotia is not the best for growing crops, although in some areas you will be able to grow grains, carrots, blueberries, and other vegetables. Most people who live off the grid in this province do have a small vegetable garden although due to the local weather they can not rely on growing food reliably. Just keep in mind that next to the coast it will be very difficult to grow any kind of crops unless you set up a greenhouse. If you want to take a look at how off grid living is in NL then check out my recent article Off grid living in Newfoundland and Labrador ( The Rock ).

Freshwater availability in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has plenty of water, and due to the local climate, it also gets plenty of rain and snowfall. The average yearly rainfall is around 43″ ( 1100 mm ) for most of the province, although the northern parts can get around 78″ ( 2000mm ) of rainfall every year. The average yearly snowfall can be anything between 50″-300″ in some years.

Nova Scotia wildlife

Nova Scotia has plenty of wildlife, the most common ones are whales, black bears, beavers, muskrats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, otters, cougars, lynx, bobcat, white-tailed deer, moose, and even wild horses. This province has a lot of saltwater and freshwater fish, the most common ones are brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, Atlantic cod, striped bass, smelt, and Atlantic salmon. You will need a fishing license both for freshwater and saltwater fishing https://novascotia.ca/sns/paal/fish/paal190.asp.

Generating power off the grid in Nova Scotia

  • Solar power: Nova Scotia gets plenty of sunshine throughout the year, the local authorities also offer the SolarHomes Program which is a rebate of $0.60/Watt but only up to $6000. Although this is a good program, but in some of the northern provinces you can get up to $0.90/Watt and a lot higher rebate cap.
  • Wind power: Generating power with wind turbines is probably the best option in this province, it is constantly windy. There are also rebates for wind power, but most of them will depend on the region where you live.

Nova Scotia off grid laws

Living off the grid in Nova Scotia is legal, as long as you respect the local laws regarding where and how to build you should be fine. Nova Scotia has a fairly good education system, although you still have the possibility to homeschool your children, just make sure to read the homeschooling laws.

Nova Scotia road access

Due to its relatively small size, Nova Scotia has plenty of roads and most of them are fairly well maintained. During the wintertime in remote areas, the road access will be difficult due to the large amount of snowfall.

Price of land in Nova Scotia

The price of land and property in the towns and cities near the coast tend to be fairly high, although the prices drop down significantly the more inland you go. Generally speaking, the cheapest lands are in the southwestern parts of the province.

Nova Scotia cost of living

The cost of living in Nova Scotia is not that far off from New Brunswick, in areas frequented by tourists the cost of living is fairly high, but overall the cost of living is on the same level as the national average. Nova Scotia has plenty of harbor and roads, transporting goods to and from the province is fairly easy which means that the cost of living is not influenced that much by the high cost of transportation.

Nova Scotia jobs

Nova Scotia’s unemployment rate is 6.9% which is exactly the same as the national average. The minimum wage is $11.55 which is $0.05 above New Brunswick’s minimum wage. The biggest industries are agriculture, commercial fishing, transport, mining, forestry, and gas extraction.

Nova Scotia natural disasters

Due to the local climate, Nova Scotia has several natural disasters like floods, flash floods, landslides, blizzards, storms, and hurricanes. The most commonly occurring natural disasters are storms, which can appear almost out of nowhere.

In conclusion

Overall from an off grid living perspective, Nova Scotia is a good province, the climate is not that harsh as in the northern provinces and the population density is fairly low. The cost of housing and property is around the same level as the national average which is also a big bonus.