Nova Scotia Heritage Day's first 7 subjects announced

The Nova Scotia government unveiled the first seven people and places the province will celebrate on Heritage Day.

Nova Scotians fought racism, brought responsible government and battled Nazis

Viola Desmond wouldn't give up her seat in a whites-only theatre section.

The Nova Scotia government unveiled the first seven people and places the province will celebrate on Heritage Day.

Students helped name the new Feb. 16 holiday and pick the first people and places to be honoured.

"Nova Scotia Heritage Day will give Nova Scotians an opportunity to celebrate our collective cultural heritage and the contributions of all Nova Scotians," Diana Whalen, the deputy premier, said in a news release. 

This year will celebrate Viola Desmond, the African Nova Scotian woman who was arrested when she refused to leave the whites-only section of a New Glasgow movie theatre in 1946.

"Honouring Ms. Desmond's legacy during African Heritage Month is a fitting tribute," said Tony Ince, the minister for communities, culture and heritage.

"Her story epitomizes the strength of character we Nova Scotians are known for."

The North End Business Association is hosting a workshop to create a commemorative piece at the North Branch Library and Music Nova Scotia is having a song-writing contest.

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the Museum of Natural History in Halifax, and the Museum of Industry in Stellarton will be open and free to the public on the holiday.

Nova Scotia Heritage Day will fall on the third Monday in February each year. 

Here are the next six subjects of Heritage Day.

2016: Joseph Howe

Joseph Howe worked as a journalist and politician. He ran the Novascotian newspaper from 1828, and brought responsible government to Nova Scotia in 1848 as premier.

2017 Mi'kmaq Heritage

The Mi'kmaq and their ancestors have lived in this land for at least 11,000 years. Mi'kma'ki, their traditional territory, includes Nova Scotia, P.E.I., and much of New Brunswick and the Gaspe Peninsula.

2018 Mona Louise Parsons

Mona Louise Parsons was born in Middleton, N.S., in 1901, studied acting in New York, married a Dutch millionaire and moved to Holland. After the Nazis invaded, the couple joined the resistance. Parsons survived the war, returned to Nova Scotia, and died in Wolfville in 1976.

2019 Maud Lewis

Nova Scotia's celebrated folk artist didn't let her rheumatoid arthritis stop her from creating and selling paintings from her Marshalltown home. She eventually turned her house into a work of art. She died in 1970, and in 1996 her entire house was installed in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

2020 Africville

The African Nova Scotian community traces its roots back to the 1700s and grew into one of the province's most prominent villages. George Dixon, boxing's first black world champion, and singer Portia White brought cultural fame to the village before the city demolished it in the 1960s.

2021 Edward Francis Arab

Born in Halifax in 1915, Edward Francis Arab was the grandson of the first Lebanese settlers in Halifax. He enlisted in the army on the outbreak of the Second World War and was killed in the 1944 Battle of the Scheldt Estuary in Holland.

2022 Grand Pré

In 1680, Pierre Melanson dit La Verdue and his family settled in Grand Pré. The Melansons were soon joined by other Acadians and they built dykes to create rich farmland and pasture. It became one of the biggest Acadian communities, until the Nova Scotia government deported thousands of Acadians in 1755.