Past and Future Honourees

2015   Viola Desmond
Nova Scotia celebrated our very first Heritage Day in 2015 honouring Viola Desmond, an African Nova Scotian businesswoman, civil women’s rights activist, who challenged the province's systemic racial discrimination of the time in a way that marked a watershed moment for civil rights in Canada. 

2016   Joe Howe
Joseph Howe was a journalist, publisher, politician, premier of Nova Scotia, and Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia. Howe was known in his time as an ardent defender of freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and champion of responsible government.

2017   Mi’kmaq Heritage
As part of the celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, we will recognize the Mi’kmaq culture and the many accomplishments of the Mi’kmaq people.

2018   Mona Louise Parsons
As 2018 is the centenary for Enfranchisement of Women in Nova Scotia, we will celebrate Middleton native, Mona Louise Parsons, who was decorated for her acts of heroism during WWII. 

2019   Maud Lewis
A world famous folk artist, Maud Lewis painted scenes that evoke feelings of innocence and child-like exuberance that is as enduring as the spring times she loved to paint. 

2020   Africville
As 2020 will mark the 10th anniversary of the Africville apology, we will honour this National Historic Site, which holds great significance to the African Nova Scotian community.

2021    Edward Francis Arab
Grandson of some of the first Lebanese immigrants to Halifax, Edward Francis Arab graduated from Dalhousie University law school and practiced until he enlisted in the army.

2022   The Landscape of Grand Pré World Heritage Site
To mark the 10th anniversary of the Landscape of Grand Pré becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site, we will celebrate the rich heritage of this landscape which features an exceptional traditional agricultural settlement still in use today and an iconic place of memory for the Acadian diaspora.

2023   Rita Joe

Elder Rita (Bernard) Joe, a member of the We’koqma’q Mi’kmaq Community and published author, was instrumental in paving the way for other Mi’kmaq authors.

2024   William Hall
2024 will mark the 165th anniversary of Hall being awarded the Victoria Cross. He was the first person of African descent and 3rd Canadian to be presented this distinguished award.

2025   Nora Bernard

A member of the Millbrook First Nation, Nora was a tireless advocate for Residential School Survivors and in 1995 founded an organization to represent survivors that lead to the start of a class action lawsuit.

2026   Joseph William Comeau

Comeau represented Digby County in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly from 1907 to 1925 and from 1928 to 1948 and represented Clare in the Senate from 1948 to 1966. Throughout his life he was a champion for the preservation and recognition of Acadian history and culture.

2027   Carrie Best

Best was a human rights activist, author, journalist, publisher and broadcaster and the well-known founder of The Clarion newspaper.

To learn more about the process used to determine future Nova Scotia Heritage Day honourees, visit the History of Heritage Day section of this website.