Erin Ventura and Justin Chiang are a couple whose journey took them from the bustling cities of Los Angeles and Vancouver to the serene coastal town of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Their story is remarkable, not only for the dramatic relocation but also because they achieved the “American Dream” in Canada. With steady jobs, a home with an ocean view, and a fulfilling lifestyle, the couple’s move proved to be a life-changing decision.

Meeting and Marriage

Ventura and Chiang’s love story began at Indiana University, where they both pursued their passions in the music industry. He plays the euphonium, a brass instrument, while she’s a professional luthier, specializing in stringed instruments. After four years of dating, they got married in 2018.

However, being from different countries, they found themselves navigating a long-distance relationship with Chiang living in British Columbia, Canada, and Ventura in Los Angeles, USA. Despite the challenges, they managed to balance their jobs and frequent travel to maintain their relationship.

Relocation to Halifax

The decision to move to Halifax came after Chiang landed a rare position in the Canadian military band, a stable job with a secure future. The couple also wanted a more affordable lifestyle, something that seemed impossible in the expensive cities of Los Angeles and Vancouver. Relocating to Halifax wasn’t without its challenges.

Ventura had to give up her job in California and adjust to a slower-paced city with fewer job opportunities. However, this move ultimately opened new doors, allowing them to build a life together in a more affordable and picturesque setting.

Street in Halifax

Career Transitions and Success

After moving to Halifax, Erin Ventura’s career took an unexpected turn. In Pasadena, she worked at a high-end violin repair shop, honing her skills as a luthier. But when she relocated to Nova Scotia, job opportunities in her field were limited. With only one local shop that wasn’t hiring, Ventura decided to take matters into her own hands.

She opened her own luthier shop in a spare room of the house they rented, offering services to musicians and stringed instrument enthusiasts in the area. Her business quickly took off, thanks to her high-quality craftsmanship and connections with local symphony members. In her first year of self-employment, Ventura made over $50,000 CAD, proving her adaptability and entrepreneurial spirit.

Meanwhile, Justin Chiang’s career as a musician flourished with his position in the Canadian military band. He joined the Stadacona Band in Halifax, which provided him with a steady income and job security. The role required him to join the Canadian Navy, adding another layer of stability to their new life in Halifax. With Chiang’s annual salary and Ventura’s growing business, the couple’s financial situation improved significantly.

Life in Halifax

Living in Halifax brought several advantages, the most notable being the ability to purchase a four-bedroom house with an ocean view. The property was within their budget, with a mortgage of around $340,000 CAD—something unimaginable in Los Angeles or Vancouver. The slower pace of life in Halifax was a welcome change, reducing the stress often associated with larger cities.

However, the move came with a fair share of culture shock. The weather was a stark contrast to the sunny climate of California, with Ventura experiencing snow for the first time and needing a whole new winter wardrobe. Halifax also had less diversity compared to the multicultural environments of Los Angeles and Vancouver.

Ventura noted the city’s predominantly white demographic, which made her husband, a Chinese-Canadian, stand out in certain areas. Additionally, the limited shopping options and health insurance choices were a significant adjustment for Ventura, who was accustomed to the variety in larger cities. Despite these challenges, the couple found happiness in their new home, embracing the quieter lifestyle and breathtaking scenery of Halifax.

Safety and Social Differences

In Halifax, Erin Ventura found a sense of safety that she didn’t always feel in the United States. The reduced stress came from several factors, most notably the lower risk of gun violence. She noted how incidents that would be considered minor in the U.S. are major news in Canada, a testament to the lower crime rates.

Ventura also appreciated the absence of sexual harassment, recalling how, since moving to Halifax, she hadn’t been subjected to catcalls or aggressive comments from men. The cultural environment in Halifax was polite and less aggressive, creating a more comfortable atmosphere for her and her husband.

Halifax lighthouse

Adapting to Canadian Life

Adapting to life in Halifax required some adjustments for Ventura. The colder weather was a significant change, necessitating a new wardrobe and learning how to deal with snow and ice. The slower pace of life and smaller community also meant fewer entertainment options and limited diversity, which took some getting used to.

Despite these challenges, Ventura gradually found her place in the city. The process of obtaining permanent residency went smoothly, further solidifying their commitment to making Canada their new home.

The couple’s sense of belonging grew as they settled into their new life. They found comfort in their local community, enjoyed their new home, and appreciated the stability that came with Chiang’s job and Ventura’s successful business. The sense of safety, affordability, and slower pace contributed to their overall happiness in Halifax.


The move from Los Angeles and Vancouver to Halifax has had a profoundly positive impact on the lives of Erin Ventura and Justin Chiang. They achieved a level of financial stability that allowed them to purchase a four-bedroom house with an ocean view, something that seemed out of reach in their previous cities. The slower pace, reduced stress, and sense of safety made Halifax an appealing place to live.

Ventura’s successful business and Chiang’s stable job in the Canadian military band provided a strong foundation for their future. Despite the colder weather and fewer choices, they found happiness in their new environment.

Ventura’s sentiments about their life in Halifax reflect a growing contentment and optimism for the future, with the couple planning to stay for the foreseeable future. This journey underscores how a significant move, despite the challenges, can lead to new opportunities and a better quality of life.

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