John Boileau

John Boileau

John Boileau served in the Canadian Army for 37 years, retiring as a colonel in 1999. During his army career, he was stationed across Canada and in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Cyprus, in various command, staff and training appointments. He is a graduate of the University of New Brunswick, the United States Army Armour Officer Advanced Course, the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College, the British Army Staff College and the British Royal College of Defence Studies. During his last five years of service he was Military Attaché at the Canadian High Commission, London, England, and was also accredited as Canada’s first Military Attaché to the Republic of Ireland.

In retirement, John commenced a second career as a writer and has authored hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles, as well as 13 books, including Samuel Cunard: Nova Scotia’s Master of the North Atlantic; Half-Hearted Enemies: Nova Scotia, New England and the War of 1812; Valiant Hearts: Atlantic Canada and the Victoria Cross; The Peaceful Revolution: 250 Years of Democracy in Nova Scotia; Halifax and The Royal Canadian Navy; Halifax and Titanic; Old Enough to Fight: Canada’s Boy Soldiers in the First World War and Too Young to Die: Canada’s Boy Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen in the Second World War. His latest book, 6/12/17: The Halifax Explosion was released earlier this year.

John is a serving Governor and Past Chairman of the Nova Scotia Division of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires. He is also a director or member of several volunteer organizations and is the founding Chairman of the recently-formed Halifax Military Heritage Preservation Society. He has been the Honorary Colonel of the Halifax Rifles (RCAC) since 2010 and in that role is the 36 Canadian Brigade Group (Nova Scotia-Prince Edward Island) representative on the Honorary Colonels National Executive Council, as well as Vice Chairman of the Council. In December 2012, the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia presented John with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to the history and heritage of the province, and in October 2016 honoured him with a Vice-Regal Commendation to recognize his role in advising the Lieutenant Governor and his office on various commemorations and anniversaries relating to the War of 1812 and the First World War.

Mathias Rodorff

Mathias Rodorff

Mathias Rodorff studied modern history and social history at the University of Freiburg and media studies at the University of Basel (Switzerland) in a jointly delivered master degree program. He received his MA for his thesis entitled “The American Civil War in the editorials of the Globe (Toronto) and the Times (London).” In October 2013 he joined the PhD-program of the America Institute at LMU Munich. His dissertation “The American Civil War and the Canadian Confederation in Canada and Great Britain: Its Representation, Impacts and Repercussions in Liverpool, Halifax and Montreal (1856-1873)” is based on case studies. This project shall show how transatlantic processes interacted with local spaces in Great Britain, Atlantic and French Canada and how public sphere and communication was created during the 1850s-1870s.
This project is supervised in a joint degree by Michael Hochgeschwender (LMU Munich) and Jerry Bannister (Dalhousie University).

Since 2014, he participates in the three-year international partnership project, “Unrest, Violence, and the Search for Social Order in Canada, 1749-1876”, funded by the SSHRC.
In 2016 he was a fellow at the Gilder Lehrmann Center (GLC – Yale University) funded by the Bavarian American Academy in Munich. He also participated in the “Slavery and its Legacy Series” podcast-interviews of the GLC (Yale University) and introduced his research as a GLC visiting fellow, which investigates the paradox in Nova Scotian about debating the issues slavery and emancipation in the United States while ignoring issues of racism in Nova Scotia during the 1860s.

For the British Journal of Canadian Studies (BJCS) he has reviewed Siemerling “The Black Atlantic Reconsidered” (2016), Banack “God’s Province” and Korneski “Conflicted Colony” (2017).
He has presented several papers at the British Ass. for Canadian Studies (BACS, London 2015, 2016, 2017), SSHRC (UNB, Fredericton 2015, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax 2016), GLC (Yale University, New Haven 2016) and at the Canadian Historical Ass. (CHA) (Ryerson University, Toronto 2017).

Further fields of interests include studies of daily life, local and transatlantic identities, the relationship between rulers and ruled within the British Atlantic World during the long 19th century, and the power of memorials and popular culture in shaping collective memories in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France and Germany.

Clary Croft

Clary Croft

Clary enjoys an eclectic career encompassing television, stage, film, radio, recordings and numerous publications. The Encyclopaedia of Music in Canada has recognized Clary’s contribution to Maritime folklore studies and his ongoing research into the traditional music of the Maritime provinces. He is best known for his continuing work with the collection of his late mentor, Dr. Helen Creighton.
Over his long career Clary has released several recordings and has written several books including a biography of Dr Creighton that has just been re-released in e-book form and his most recent title: Witchcraft: Tales, Beliefs and Superstitions from the Maritimes.
The Halifax Mail Star wrote -“… he is the acknowledged master of one of the richest repertoires in Canada.”

The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society Autumn 2017 Lecture Series

Click here for a downloadable programme brochure.

September 20, 2017

Folklore – Is it relevant in the 21st century?”

Clary Croft

October 18, 2017

Title: TBA

Robert Berard

November 15, 2017

Title: TBA

Mathias Rodorff

December 13, 2017

“City’s Saviours: The Military Response to the Halifax Explosion”

Col John Boileau (Ret’d)

Annual Dinner 2017

Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society Annual Dinner Meeting

Wednesday, 19 April 2017 — 6:00 for 6:30
Dalhousie University Club
6259 Alumni Crescent located just off South Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Lecture: “Nebooktook — In the Woods” by Mike Parker

A richly illustrated presentation focusing upon an eclectic mix of history,
heritage, and nostalgia that celebrates the traditions, natural beauty, and
intrinsic values of Nova Scotia‘s woods and waters.


Tangled Thai Salad:

Shredded Napa cabbage, julienne of cucumber, carrot, daikon radish finished with
peanuts, quinoa, fresh lime and a peanut coconut cilantro dressing (Vegan and GF)

Moroccan spiced Lentil, Kale, Sweet Potato Cassoulet with fresh cherry tomatoes,
mint, turmeric and ginger served with University Club rice (Vegan and GF)


Tuscan Chicken stuffed with Fontina, Roasted Red Peppers and Sage
served with chef’s choice of potatoes and vegetables

Chocolate decadent brownie plated with berries (GF)

Tea and coffee

$47 per person payable in advance before Thursday, 13 April.
Maximum seating for
50 people.

Cheques or money orders should be made payable to “Royal Nova Scotia Historical
Society” and mailed to:

Rosemary Barbour, RNSHS Membership Secretary
6016 University Avenue
Halifax, NS B3H 1W4

For reservations contact Rosemary Barbour at
or Telephone: 902-424-6070, with choice of menu option (Moroccan cassoulet or Tuscan chicken).

Please note that cancellations can not be accepted after 13 April.

Bruce MacDonald

Bruce MacDonald

Born at Antigonish, NS, attended Antigonish High School, St. Francis Xavier University (Bachelor of Arts, Honours History, 1973; Bachelor of Education, 1976; Master of Education, 2003) and the University of New Brunswick (Masters of History, 1978). Taught public school in the Antigonish school system from 1976 to 2011. Also former sessional instructor, School of Education program, StFX.

Mike Parker

Mike Parker has been researching and writing about his native province of Nova Scotia and its people for thirty years. The best-selling author and historian is an experienced affiliate with various heritage interpretive mediums including past research associate status with the Nova Scotia Museum, educator with the Writers in Schools program, and guest speaker for organizations and agencies including the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Parks Canada and Halifax Regional School Board. He once operated a wilderness canoe tripping business guiding back country tours along traditional Mi’kmaw water routes. Mike has made numerous radio and television appearances and been consulted for documentaries. An oral historian, he interviewed scores of men and women whose memories and musings of lived events formed the basis for three of his books. Born and raised in Bear River, a village steeped in lumbering, ship building and guiding history, he is a graduate of Acadia University and a long-time resident of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Sara Beanlands

Sara Beanlands

Sara Beanlands is a Principal and Senior Archaeologist with Boreas Heritage Consulting Inc., specializing in cultural resource management. Completing a Master's degree in History at Saint Mary's University in 2010, Sara has undertaken a wide range of historical research and archaeological projects throughout Atlantic Canada. Her work has been published in the Journal of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, the International Journal of Maritime History and the University of Edinburgh Journal. She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Anthropology at Saint Mary's, President of the Nova Scotia Archaeology Society and a Vice‐President of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society.

Courtney Mrazek

Courtney Mrazek

Courtney Mrazek is a doctoral candidate in the department of History at the University of New Brunswick. She currently holds a SSHRC Doctoral Scholarship and is working under the supervision of Sasha Mullally studying the history of medicine. Her dissertation will examine eugenic mentalities and how they influenced education and health policies in the Department of Indian Affairs in twentieth century Nova Scotia. This presentation draws on research from her master's thesis “‘Our Nation is like a withering leaf on a summer's day’: The Mi'kmaq and British Agricultural Policies in Colonial Nova Scotia,” which she wrote at Saint Mary's University under the supervision of John G. Reid.