East Coast Campus Visits Part II: Places and People of the Maritimes

A few months ago, my colleague Ruth McGhee and I travelled to the East Coast for a university tour. She shared stories from the first half: photos and impressions of American schools, such as Columbia University and Parsons School of Design/The New School. After sampling a few bites of the educational buffet in New York City and the surrounding area, we boarded a tiny plane for the journey northeast to the east coast of Canada to continue our adventure.

We were both excited to start in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I know firsthand the Maritimes is a special place. I lived and worked for five years in a small town just outside of Halifax called Lunenburg. Ruth and I were both certain our four-day visit would be filled with great people and places, and our host institutions did not disappoint.

Best known for Celtic music, lobster, friendly locals and fun kitchen parties, our university visits took us to two of the four Maritime provinces: Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. What we found was the Maritimes offers a university experience for every type of student!

Nova Scotia Schools

Dalhouse University

Dal is a medium-sized university in a laid-back city that offers great food, cool culture and stunning harbour views. The school is a global leader in ocean studies and research. They offer an array of undergrad arts, science and engineering majors, as well as professional programs.

University of King’s College

Mrs. McGhee at UKC
Mrs. McGhee at UKC

Love city life but want a smaller, intimate education experience? Consider studying at UKC. It’s Canada’s oldest chartered university (1789) and home to just 1,200 students. They offer some unique programs, like the Foundation Year Programme and a great journalism program.

Fun fact: students who attend Dalhousie or King’s College can enroll in classes at the sister institution, an opportunity to gain the best of both environments.

Nova Scotia College of Art & Design University

Halifax is also a fantastic place for students seeking a school with unique character. Behind the beautiful Victorian architecture of the NSCAD campus is a great school for creative students looking to study visual arts. Students can concentrate in one of five areas: craft, design, fine art, historical and critical studies, or media arts.

Mount Saint Vincent University

The Mount was founded by the Sisters of Charity in 1873, and was – at the time – one of few higher ed schools that accepted women. Now co-ed and welcoming to people of all faiths, the school is committed to creative teaching and research. Through their wide-ranging undergrad programs they nurture socially responsible global citizens.

Acadia University

Students who prefer life in a smaller town with big a community feel should consider spending it in Wolfville. Located just one hour from Halifax, the town’s natural environment includes the world’s highest tides, and beautiful vineyards, woodland trails and farmlands. The school’s learning environment provides a personalized, rigorous liberal arts education. It’s hard not to fall in love with this place!

New Brunswick Schools

University of New Brunswick

There’s no shortage of that warm east coast culture in New Brunswick, too. UNB offers studies at two beautiful campuses, located in either Fredericton or Saint John. Both campuses have their own unique charm, but for that true home away from home feeling, Saint John can’t be beat. Choose from of 70-plus undergrad programs, including Canada’s only leadership studies bachelor program.

Mount Allison University

Mount “A” is a small campus that plays a big role in the tight-knit town of Sackville. With a population of around 7,000, Mount “A” students make up 2,500 of that! The school – consistently ranked one of the best in Canada by Maclean’s magazine – proudly offers dynamic academic programs in five degree areas: Arts, Science, Commerce, Fine Arts and Music.


The Maritimes offer a university experience for everyone – big or small, urban or rural. If you feel ready to explore Canada’s other coast, you may find your “best fit” in one of the many great universities the east has to offer.

No matter which school you choose in the Maritimes, you will certainly encounter some of the friendliest people there and enjoy a home away from home. Don’t believe me? Visit some Nova Scotia and New Brunswick universities for yourself! And be sure to pack your dancing shoes for a traditional east coast kitchen party. Life in the Maritimes is an experience not to be missed!

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Kate Knight
Kate Knight is a University Counsellor at St. Michaels University School.

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