Photo Credit: Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash
What It's Like Being Black In Nova Scotia, Canada
Written by: René Boudreau
“There are Black people in Nova Scotia?”
That’s a question other Black people ask me often when I travel outside of Canada. When asked this question, my initial response is usually a brief history lesson on how my ancestors ended up in Nova Scotia (NS), followed by me asking them if they’ve ever heard of Africville? Viola Desmond? What about the largest Black Community in Canada – North Preston?
Nova Scotia is home to descendants of the Loyalists, Maroons, Refugees, Caribbeans and others who came here in search of a better life. Our history is diverse, unique, rich and worth being explored by more Black travelers all over the world.
As a Black Nova Scotian, it is important to always honor and show appreciation to the generations before me for their bravery and resiliency, while navigating life in a predominately white province where racism and oppression exists. Along with bravery and resiliency – wisdom, knowledge, community, support, love, and family are all words that come to mind when I think of Black Nova Scotia.
I was raised in a Black community in Truro, which is a small town in central NS. I have ancestral ties to East Preston, which is a rural Black community located in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), and where I currently reside. There are several smaller Black communities throughout NS, but when it comes to the larger Black community, we all have a shared experience and are all impacted by each other’s power and pain.
Despite the many challenges that Black Nova Scotian people are faced with, we have broken down many barriers and have become changemakers, advocates, professionals, entrepreneurs, authors, bloggers, artists and so much more. The talent that exists here is astounding whether it be music, sports, makeup, hair or creative arts, and the love and support we have for one another is admirable.
Not only are there indigenous Blacks in NS, but there is a growing immigrant population with many people of the African diaspora. More Black millennials should visit Nova Scotia not only for its rich history but for its breathtaking views, delicious foods, lively churches, historic centers/museums, friendly people and much more.
Next time you plan to visit Nova Scotia, make sure to check out some of these Black Businesses in my area (HRM).
Smooth Meal Prep
99 Wyse Rd Suite 1100
Dartmouth, NS B3A 4S5
Co-Founded by Nevell Provo, Smooth Meal Prep is a small family business that offers fresh and affordable meals to promote a healthy lifestyle. Depending on the length of your stay, you may be looking for a week worth of meals to keep you on track, or you can purchase a smooth meal to take on the go!
Hair Palace Plus+
389 St Margarets Bay Rd
Halifax, NS B3N 1J8
Hair Palace Plus+ offers professional hair care products, top quality hair extensions, and custom made wigs. Free consultations in a private wig room are available for wig fittings, cap structures, length and color. Hair Palace Plus+ prides themselves on providing knowledgeable advice with 7 years experience in the industry.
2919 St. Margaret’s Bay Road
Timberlea, NS B3T 1H5
Kwestomar Kreations sells authentic African apparel, accessories, and artifacts such as wall hangings, jewelry boxes, wooden carvings and more.
56 Supreme Court
Halifax, NSB3N 2L4
Kalisimbi Shop sells African and International specialty foods and beauty products. They provide a range of tropical and organic food products from across all Africa and offer free home delivery in the Halifax area.
Urban Closet Plug (and Barbershop)
196 Windmill Rd
Dartmouth, NS B3A 1E9
Founded in 2016 by Shaquille Johnson, Urban Closet Plug is a Men’s clothing store/barber shop that connects you to sports, urban streetwear and retro clothing. Not only does this store offer a variety of clothing, but you can make an appointment with one of the best barbers in the city, Justin Williams, and he will be sure to hook you up!
5640 Spring Garden Road
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Jamaica Vibes is the first authentic Jamaican restaurant in Atlantic Canada. Established in 2017, Jamaica Vibes will make you feel like you’re in the tropics with their specialty cocktails, Imported Red Stripe Jamaican beer, and cool vibes. Every week they feature live reggae bands and special events.