The Way Forward

The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society was established in 1878 and is one of the oldest historical societies in Canada. Over the past 143 years, its activities and publications have inevitably reflected changing social attitudes and values. The Executive and Council recognize and acknowledge the colonial roots embedded in the creation and life of the Society, and believe it is now time to examine our own history. Indeed, as The Lord Dalhousie Panel Report on Slavery and Race recently noted, it is important to look back in order to move forward


We thus intend to begin the process of exploring, with learning and reflection, our role in shaping the interpretation of Nova Scotia’s settler historical narrative. The objective is ultimately to craft brief new foundation statements that embody our current values of diversity and inclusion, and our commitments to the future. We greatly value the perspectives of our membership and invite all members of the Society to participate and help guide us through this undertaking.


We anticipate that opportunities for broader consultation will be identified and extended in the coming months, and that appropriate updates will be shared as the exercise proceeds. We look forward to these discussions, and to the renewed sense of purpose which they will bring to the Society. We believe the best approach for such an undertaking is to create a small Working Group with no more than six members.  Beginning in October this group will meet, likely monthly, to develop: 1) an action plan, timeline and anticipated deliverables; 2) a plan for appropriate facilitated consultation, to include voices new to the Society; and 3) time permitting, early drafts for foundation documents such as mission, vision and/or values statements.


Interested in this initiative? We’re looking for 6 participants – 4 from Council, 2 from the Society’s general membership. Former Executive and Council members are especially welcome. Please let us know by October 15, 2021 if you’d like to join us by emailing


This is an ambitious but manageable approach which we believe will enable the Group to provide a preliminary report and recommendations by late February 2022. This is also an opportunity for members to contribute directly to meaningful change in the life of our organization – we hope you’ll be interested in participating!   


On behalf of the RNSHS Executive and Council, Lois Yorke/President

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.