New Community Support Grants

The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society is pleased to announce a new funding opportunity in the form of two annual grants of $250 each 1) for local Nova Scotia community heritage or history organizations/societies and 2) for individuals, including graduate and undergraduate students or independent scholars conducting research on any aspect of Nova Scotia history. Current deadline is October 31, 2021. For more information please click here for detailed grant application guidelines.

Journal Welcomes Managing Editor

We’re pleased to announce that Mathias Rodorff is the new Managing Editor of the Journal of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society. Mathias is a PhD-candidate at the Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU Munich) with a joint supervision at the Department of History at Dalhousie University. He is a Research Associate at the Gorsebrook Research Institute at Saint Mary’s University, and, since January 2019, a Member of the Council of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society. Mathias takes on this new role joining continuing Editor Anne Marie Lane Jonah and the rest of the Journal team; click here for contact information and more about the Journal.

Managing Editor Opportunity

The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society invites applications or nominations (accompanied by a curriculum vitae and covering letter) for the volunteer position of Managing Editor. Documentation should be received by the Society’s Vice-President, Publications, at, by 4 January 2021. For more information please click here to read more details about the position

Robin Moore Orr, Sc.D, MSc., S.M., R.D.

It is with great sadness that we reflect on the unexpected death of our treasurer, Dr. Robin Moore-Orr on March 22, 2020. Robin grew up in Sydney, Australia and came to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in public health and nutrition at Iowa State University. A Fulbright scholar, Robin received her Sc.D and MSc. from Harvard University School of Public Health. Throughout her illustrious career as a Registered Dietician and Associate Professor at Memorial University Faculty of Medicine, Robin gained the respect of the Public Health community across North America. She served on the Boards of many NGO and Professional Associations and National Advisory Councils and Committees. She was a brilliant scholar, a dedicated wife, mother, friend, and an inspirational volunteer. She worked tirelessly to improve the health and circumstances of children in Canada and around the world. She was a founding member of the Canadian Institute of Child Health and served as President for many years. As a recognized public health leader, Robin received numerous awards and much recognition, including the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2002. Since relocating to Halifax to be close to family, this consummate life-long learner and her husband, Dr. James Orr, rarely missed a meeting of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society. We have been honoured by her presence on our Council and enriched by her presence in our lives. We extend our thoughts and deepest sympathies to her beloved husband, Jim, and their son Andrew (Bianca Lang) and daughter Fiona, and five grandchildren; Ian, Cameron, and Kellis Malcolm and Benno and Sophie Orr.

A Message From the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society

Dear Members and Friends,

It is with the health of our members and the public in mind that we have decided to cancel all upcoming in-person lectures and meetings, including the annual banquet, until the Fall of 2020. In the coming weeks we will be investigating the possibility of recording lectures or sharing content in other ways.

Many thanks to our past speakers who participated in the 2019/20 public lecture season and to those who were willing but unable to participate in a public event at this time. We hope to postpone the lectures and the AGM to a later date.

On behalf of my colleagues on Council, I thank you for your continued support. If you have questions or concerns please reach out by sending an email to


Sara Beanlands
President, Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society

Hugh Creighton

The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society regrets the passing of its friend and long-time auditor Mr. Hugh Creighton. 

Halifax Chronicle Herald, October 2, 2019 
It is with great sadness that the family of Hugh Creighton announces his sudden passing on Saturday, September 21, 2019 in the Halifax Infirmary, QEII. Born in Halifax on May 22, 1950, he was a son of the late Helen (Remillard) and Wilfrid Creighton. He is survived by his sister, Beth Creighton McGee, and sister-in-law, Elizabeth Creighton; nieces, Dana McGee (Vince Theriault), Andrea McGee (Mike Baxter) and Victoria Creighton (Rob Carson); great-niece and nephews, Peyton McGee-Baxter and Blythe and Thomas Carson. Hugh was pre-deceased by his parents, and his brother, Robert Creighton. Hugh was a graduate of Dalhousie University, went on to study accounting and worked in finance and accounting. Outside of his professional life, music was his passion. Hugh played the organ at many local churches. Most recently he was the organist at St. Alban’s Anglican Church and played the piano for services at Brunswick Street United Church. Hugh served as an advisor to members at St. John’s Anglican Church, Lunenburg in the replacing of the organ that was destroyed by the fire of 2001. He was active in the Halifax music community serving as Board member and Treasurer for a number of organizations including Musique Royale, Halifax Camerata Singers and most recently the Halifax Organ Festival. Hugh was the volunteer Manager of the Symphony Nova Scotia Boutique for 10 years. He was an ardent supporter of the arts and a member of many other music and arts groups. At St. Andrew’s United Church, Hugh served as church treasurer for many years, was a member of the Church Council, and frequently played the organ for service when their Music Director was away. He served in a volunteer capacity on committees at several other churches. He was a generous and committed volunteer who supported many local charities. Hugh was a very social person. He enjoyed meeting friends for lively conversations and laughter at coffee shops in the Halifax area. He was tremendously kind and was a friend to so many. Hugh lived his life to the fullest. His creativity, humour and generosity will be deeply missed by his family and his friends. As was his wish, Hugh’s body has been donated to the Department of Medicine at Dalhousie University. A Celebration of Life will be held in St. Andrews United Church on the corner of Cobourg and Robie streets in Halifax at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 12th. Re ception to be held in St. Andrew’s United Church Hall immediately following the service. Donations in Hugh’s memory may be made to Brunswick Street Mission, 2107 Brunswick St., Halifax, NS B2K 2Y4 or online at: Online condolences may be sent to his sister Beth McGee at:

Dr. Shirley Tillotson Wins Governor General’s History Award for Scholarly Research

The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society wishes to congratulate Dr. Shirley Tillotson, Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University, and current Vice President Programmes / Journal Advisory Board Member of the Society, for winning this year’s Governor General’s History Award for Scholarly Research for her book ‘Give and Take: The Citizen-Taxpayer and the Rise of Canadian Democracy’. Read more about this outstanding achievement in the Dal News.

Janet Kitz, ONS, MSM

An appreciation

Janet Kitz, a great believer in education and the power of history to shape a community’s identity, died on May 10. Best known for her work on the Halifax Explosion, Janet Kitz immigrated to Nova Scotia in 1971 and turned her interest in this great but terrible chapter of the story of her new home into an tremendous accomplishment in public history. In work that she frequently presented to the RNSHS, she began with artifact research, she moved on to museum exhibits, oral history, books and public commemorations that lifted a veil on the explosion and its impact on the people of Nova Scotia. Her work took an event that had been little explored and poorly recognized and paved the way of others to continue. Her contributions went beyond the explosion, writing the biography of Andrew Cobb, one of the most iconic architects in Nova Scotia and through her service on numerous boards, most notably, the Point Pleasant Park commission which led her to write and publish the history of the park.
   Profound in her influence and generous in sharing her knowledge with others, she will be greatly missed but left an impressive legacy for future generations seeking education on iconic moments that shaped the identity of Nova Scotia.


Halifax Chronicle Herald, Tuesday, May 14, 2019

KITZ, Janet Frame, ONS MSM

Janet Kitz walked bravely into the dark on May 10, 2019. She died of old age and pulmonary fibrosis, from which she suffered stoically for a decade. She died at home in her own bed as she wished, in charge to the end. Janet was born in Carnwath in the Scottish Lowlands on January 12, 1930, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Rankin) Brownlee. Her father was a noted horticulturalist and developed the Jenny Brownlee begonia in her name. She trained as a teacher in Glasgow and worked in that field for 20 years, first in London, then Davos, Switzerland, and then in the U.S. on the eastern shore of Maryland. She was teaching in Edinburgh when she was invited to attend a dinner as part of the Edinburgh Festival and was seated beside Leonard Kitz, who was there representing the National Arts Centre. They were married within the year and she moved to Halifax in 1971. Janet was a lifetime member of the Antiquarian Society of Halifax and a fellow of Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, often using that forum for lectures on her research before she went to print with her books on the Halifax explosion, most notably “Shattered City, The Halifax Explosion and The Road to Recovery”. Saint Mary’s University awarded her an honorary degree in recognition that sound research and authorship of accessible books for a wide public is vital for society. She was made a member of the Order of Nova Scotia in 2018 and in 2019 was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by the Governor General. Janet was on a number of boards and commissions but a favourite was the Point Pleasant Park Commission which she chaired for many years. She wrote a book about the park with a final chapter of photos of dogs and their owners. Until her very last years she walked her beloved Brittany spaniels in the park twice a day in all weather and enjoyed chatting with her dog-walking friends and all the park staff. In the U.K., Janet leaves her cousin, Marjorie Brownlee; her niece, Anne Buchannan (Brownlee) and spouse, Alan; her nephew, Tom Brownlee and partner, Angela Perry; and her nephew, David Yule and spouse, Rachel. In Nova Scotia, Janet became step- mother to Leonard’s children, Hilary (Steven Janus), John (Ann), and Alan (Meredith Annett). She was the adoring Granny to their children, Sam Singer (Jeannette MacMillan), Nick Singer, Jeremy Singer, Alex Kitz (Laura), Robert Kitz (Paula McLaughlin), Hilary Kierans (Denis), Alice Kitz, and Duff Kitz (Alison Boros). Janet is also survived by seven delightful great-grandchildren with another expected in a few weeks. There will be a reception for family and friends on Thursday, May 16th from 5-7 p.m. at 1110 Rockcliffe Street, the house in which she lived so happily for 44 years. Donations may be made to PATH (Palliative and Therapeutic Harmonization) Clinic, QEII Health Sciences Centre.