Nova Scotia

February holiday dubbed Nova Scotia Heritage Day

The province's newest holiday, to be celebrated on the third Monday in February, will be known as Nova Scotia Heritage Day.

New holiday starts in 2015 in honour of Viola Desmond

Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan has announced Nova Scotia Heritage Day will be celebrated the third Monday in February. (CBC)

The province's newest holiday, to be celebrated on the third Monday in February, will be known as Nova Scotia Heritage Day.

Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan made the announcement standing in front of a class of students at Brookhouse Elementary School on Thursday morning.

"I love it," she said. "It's a perfect name. The naming campaign gave students a great opportunity to learn more about the people and events that helped shape our province."

The Liberal government introduced the bill last last year to establish the holiday starting in 2015.

The province asked students to come up with a name and held a naming campaign. Primary to Grade 12 classes were invited to submit ideas for a general, permanent name for the holiday, as well as suggestions for cultural or historic contributions to Nova Scotia that will be recognized each year on the holiday.

​More than 75 submissions were received from classes across the province, at every grade level. 

The first Nova Scotia Heritage Day next year will recognize and celebrate Viola Desmond. The order of the 12 other culturally significant people and places chosen for recognition will be announced at a later date.

Notable Nova Scotian people, places to be honoured:

  • Mi’kmaq Heritage: The culture and many accomplishments of the Mi’kmaq people.
  • Africville: National Historic Site of great significance to the black community.
  • Joseph Howe: Journalist and politician who contributed to the establishment of responsible government and laid the foundation for freedom of the press.
  • Edward Francis Arab: Prominent member of the Lebanese community who was killed in Holland, during WWII.
  • Nora Bernard: Mi'kmaq activist who sought compensation for survivors of the Canadian residential school system.
  • Carrie Best: Radio host, author and founder of The Clarion, the first black owned and published NS newspaper.
  • J. Willie Comeau: Educator, community activist, MLA, MP and Senator who represented Digby County from 1907 to 1966.
  • Grand Pré National Historic Site: The heart of the Acadian settlement prior to 1755.
  • William Hall: The first black person, first Nova Scotian, and third Canadian to receive the Victoria Cross.
  • Rita Joe: Poet Laureate of the Mi'kmaq people, and Order of Canada recipient.
  • Maud Lewis: World famous Nova Scotia folk artist.
  • Mona Louise Parsons: Native of Wolfville, decorated for acts of heroism during WWII.

The name Heritage Day was suggested by three schools: Bayview Education Centre in Inverness, Bible Hill Junior High in Bible Hill and Northeast Kings Education Centre in Canning.

A three-member panel then reviewed the suggestions and made their recommendation to Regan.

Some of the suggestions that didn't make the cut included Mayflower Day, Canada's Ocean Playground Day, Maple Syrup and Pancake Day and Bluenoser Day.

The implementation of Nova Scotia Heritage Day means there will be six statutory holidays in the province each year.


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