Cafes and pubs on Argyle Street, Halifax.

Halifax for Artists

Halifax is an alluring city, full of quirky charms and contradictions to fuel one’s art-making.

Perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, this historic city is home to about 370,000 people, or 40 per cent of Nova Scotia’s total population. It’s the largest city east of Montreal and north of Boston. Though it may appear remote on a map, this distance is part of its seductive appeal – Halifax does its own thing, at its own pace. It’s one of the few places left on the planet where traffic actually slows for pedestrians! Unique creative voices and diverse points of view have room to flourish in Halifax.

Maclean’s Guide to Universities credited NSCAD as “a big reason Halifax is seen as one of the hippest cities in the land.”

The city’s comfortable yet cosmopolitan size breeds plenty of cross-fertilization among the burgeoning indie music, art and film scenes. With reportedly more taverns and nightclubs per capita than any other Canadian city, the downtown core also boasts several dozen art galleries including the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, while many pubs and cafes also host regular art exhibitions. The artist-run Khyber Centre for the Arts is an active social hub for students, with its own bar, galleries, digital media centre and performance spaces. The Centre for Art Tapes, the Atlantic Filmmakers’ Cooperative, the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council, Visual Arts Nova Scotia and many other cultural organizations provide ongoing networks for socializing and professional development.

Just steps away from our historic campus, a waterfront boardwalk extends along the world’s second-largest natural ice-free harbour.

Watch the steady traffic of schooners, warships, luxury cruiseliners and container ships as you stroll past wharves and office towers to Pier 21, where many of Canada’s immigrants first landed. Founded in 1749 as a British military base, the city keeps its rich heritage close to the surface, and many art students reside in affordable Victorian flats. While making the most of its past, Halifax has evolved into a successful and fully modern city.

As the region’s economic, political and cultural engine, Halifax takes education very seriously.

Its six degree-granting institutions have a combined enrolment of nearly 25,000 students, and four have their own galleries on campus. The city has 81.1 post-secondary students per 1,000 people, three times the national average. The Halifax International Airport is the major hub connecting the region to other parts of North America and Europe. Just a two-hour flight from Toronto or New York, the province attracts more than two million tourists each year.

Peace and tranquility are always close at hand.

A 15-minute drive outside the urban core delivers you to rugged coastal hikes, pristine lakes and forests and fantastic beaches for swimming or surfing. Striking natural beauty also abounds in the lush Acadian farmlands of the Annapolis Valley, the spectacular highlands of Cape Breton, and rustic villages and coves in any direction. It’s well worth checking out, but be warned – you might never leave, as plenty of NSCAD alumni will attest!