The primary language used in Nova Scotia is English; with many services also available in French throughout the province.
Nova Scotia has a temperate climate and late spring, summer and fall weather provides very enjoyable riding. Evenings along our coastline (with sea breezes) tend to be cooler, while inland amid forests and farmlands, are usually 5°C (10°F) warmer. Our weather forecasts are in Celsius. For easy conversion from Celsius to Fahrenheit multiply by 2 and add 30. For current provincial, local and marine forecasts call 1-902-426-9090.
For tide schedules call 1-877-775-0790.
Our Canadian currency is based on the decimal system, with 100 cents to the dollar. Most commonly used bills are $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Used coinage includes 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, $1 and $2. You can easily exchange your currency for Canadian dollars at banks, credit unions and trust companies throughout the province.
Credit & Debit Cards
The majority of services offered in Nova Scotia accept all major credit cards (e.g. Visa, MasterCard, American Express) and debit cards (Plus, Interac, and Cirrus networks).
A 15% federal/provincial sales tax (HST) is applied to most goods and services provided in Nova Scotia.
Firearms & Weapons
Non-residents must declare their firearms in writing upon arrival at their point of entry with a Canadian Firearms Licence or a Non-Resident Firearm Declaration, which can be processed at the border for a $50 fee. For detailed info call 1-800-461-9999, or 1-800-731-4000, or visit www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca.
• We drive on the right-hand side of the road. Lanes heading in opposite directions are separated by a yellow line.
• Any person with a valid out-of-province licence or an international driver’s licence may drive in Nova Scotia for up to 90 days.
• Registration (vehicle permit) is required for owners. Non-owners should carry a copy of a rental contract or letter from the owner.
• Approved helmets are required throughout Atlantic Canada.
• Adequate insurance coverage is required in Nova Scotia. If renting or borrowing a private motorcycle, check to ensure that you are covered. United States motorists can obtain a Non-Residential Inter-Province Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance Card through their own insurance companies, that will be accepted as evidence of financial responsibility anywhere in Canada.
• Speed zones are posted in kilometres per hour, not miles per hour. Our highways are patrolled by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and by air patrol. Fines are imposed for violations to the posted speed limits. Radar detectors are illegal in Nova Scotia and will be confiscated by the RCMP. For a quick & approximate conversion, simply multiply the posted speed by 6.
e.g. 100 Km X 6 = 60, (actual 62mph)
• Maximum speeds unless otherwise posted are as follows:
TransCanada & 100-series hwys. 100 km/hr–62 mph
Other hwys. 80 km/hr–50 mph
Cities & towns 50 km/hr–30 mph
School zones (children present) 50 km/hr–30 mph
• School buses are equipped with amber flashing lights which must be displayed 150m (500 ft.) before stopping to discharge or accept passengers. When amber lights are flashing, be prepared to stop. While stopped, the school bus will display red flashing lights and all traffic from both directions must stop and remain stopped until the school bus proceeds.
• In Nova Scotia pedestrians have the right-of-way at intersections and crosswalks, with responsibility not to interfere with the flow of traffic.
• Littering is an offense in Nova Scotia along our highways and fines are imposed.
• Gasoline in Nova Scotia is dispensed in litres, according to the metric system. A litre is approximately equal to 1/4 US gallon. Please note that many service stations in rural areas have limited hours of operation on weekends.
Alcohol and Cannabis Consumption
Liquor, wine or beer may be purchased through government liquor stores located throughout the province. You must be 19 years of age or over and proof of age may be requested. Hours of operation will vary according to location. Usual hours of operation are 10 am – 6 pm, Monday to Saturday, with extended hours in major communities. Liquor Commission outlets are open for business with limited hours on Sundays and closed on holidays.
Establishments that serve wine, beer and spirits are usually advertised as “licensed”. Liquor may be served with a food order on a Sunday or holiday.
Cannabis is currently only sold at specified locations, more information is available here: www.mynslc.com
It is against the law to operate a motor vehicle while impaired/under the influence of alcohol or cannabis.
Public hospitals and medical centres are located throughout the province. This symbol H is used on highway signage to indicate a public hospital is in the area. Help in locating the nearest hospital or other medical services may be obtained from the local telephone operator, any visitor information centre, or through Nova Scotia’s Check In at 1-800-565-0000.
Emergency Number 911
You can call 911 free of charge, province-wide from any cellular or pay phone.
This is an emergency service ONLY to be used in urgent emergency situations.
While travelling our 100-series highways note the distance marker signs, located at 1km intervals; to enable you to provide the most accurate information possible as to your location.
Area Code 902
When making local calls within Nova Scotia, you must dial 1-902- before the phone number. (Note this is not required with toll free numbers).
VHF Channel 16 (156.8 MHz) and 2182 KHz
CB Channel 9
Radio CB Channels
CB Channel 7 (used by groups of riders)
CB Channel 1 (used by solo riders & truckers)