What’s open and closed for Heritage Day in Nova Scotia

Click to play video: 'Poet and writer Rita Joe is this year’s Heritage Day honouree'
Poet and writer Rita Joe is this year’s Heritage Day honouree
Acclaimed Mi’kmaw poet Rita Joe is this year’s Heritage Day honouree in Nova Scotia. Vanessa Wright reports on how her life’s work is being celebrated – Feb 19, 2023

Monday marks Heritage Day in Nova Scotia, and many businesses are closed for the long weekend.

This year’s Heritage Day honouree is Mi’kmaw poet and writer Rita Joe, who was known as a “gentle warrior.”

One of her best known pieces is I Lost My Talk, which was about the residential school system and the loss of the Mi’kmaw language.

A special event held earlier this week was filled with live performances and presentations, as family and friends delivered a heartfelt tribute to the life and legacy of Joe, who passed away in 2007.

Most other provinces, including New Brunswick, mark the February long weekend as Family Day.

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In Nova Scotia, however, the statutory holiday honours “the remarkable people, places and events that have contributed to this province’s unique heritage.”

Here’s a list of closures in the Halifax region this long weekend.

Groceries, retail

The major grocery stores, including Atlantic Superstore, Sobeys and Costco, are closed Monday.

As well, all malls are closed.

While NSLC stores will be closed, some private liquor stores and breweries are open.


Halifax Transit buses and the Alderney Ferry are operating on holiday schedules on Monday. Detailed information about transit schedules can be found here.

There is no service for the Woodside Ferry on Heritage Day.

For those driving, on-street parking is free.

Municipal services, recreation

There will be no garbage, organics or recyclables collection services on Monday.

The Otter Lake Waste Management Facility and Municipal Recycling Plant will also be closed.

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Many recreation facilities will be closed and residents are asked to call their local facility for their operating hours.


Several museums will not only be open on Monday, but will offer free admission to mark the holiday.

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is offering free admission. Visitors can watch pre-recorded performances inspired by Rita Joe by four Mi’kmaw poets in the Windsor Foundation Lecture Theatre.

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is open and offering free admission from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Museum of Industry in Stellarton is open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the Fundy Geological Museum in Parrsboro is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., both of which are also offering free admission.

As well, the Natural History Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the Ross Farm Museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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