June 26, 2014 11:12 am
Updated: June 27, 2014 9:49 am

Nova Scotians to mark annual Heritage Day starting in February 2015


HALIFAX – Nova Scotians can officially mark their calendars.

Starting next year, the third Monday in February will be known as Nova Scotia Heritage Day.

The new holiday will provide an opportunity to recognize a different significant figure or event in Nova Scotia’s culture and history every year.

The first holiday will celebrate human rights pioneer Viola Desmond, while future Heritage Days will honour

The first February holiday, in 2015, will recognize and celebrate Viola Desmond. The next 12 contributions to be recognized, in no specific order, are:

  • Joseph Howe – Halifax journalist and politician who scored a victory for freedom of the press when acquitted of libel in a famous 1835 court case
  • Edward Francis Arab – soldier from Halifax killed in Holland during the Second World War and prominent member of the Halifax-Lebanese community
  • Nora Bernard – Mi’kmaq activist who attended a residential school in Shubenacadie and later sought compensation for survivors of the Canadian residential school system
  • Carrie Best – journalist from New Glasgow who founded the first black-owned and published Nova Scotia newspaper
  • J. William Comeau – educator and political figure from Comeauville, N.S. who served as a member of the Nova Scotia Legislative Council from 1925 to 1928
  • William Hall – from Horton, N.S., the first black person, first Nova Scotian and third Canadian to receive the Victoria Cross
  • Rita Joe – Mi’kmaq poet from Whycocomagh, Cape Breton, referred to as the Poet Laureate of the Mi’kmaq people, and member of the Order of Canada
  • Maud Lewis – influential folk artist from South Ohio, N.S.
  • Mona Louise Parsons – actress and nurse from Middleton, N.S. who was the only Canadian female civilian to be imprisoned by the Nazis during the Second World War, and received a commendation for her bravery
  • Mi’kmaq heritage – the history, traditions and culture of the Mi’kmaq people
  • Africville – a community on the shore of the Bedford Basic with historical significance to the local black community
  • Grand Pre National Historic Site – the area at the centre of Acadian settlement in Nova Scotia during the 18th century

The new holiday, announced earlier this year, was named by students from schools across the province as part of a naming campaign.

Heritage Day was among the submitted ideas, which were reviewed by a three-member panel.

The panel then made recommendations to Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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