The Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society Winter/Spring 2016 Lecture Series

The society meets monthly from September to May inclusive to hear and to discuss individual papers about personalities, places and events integral to the history of Nova Scotia at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia. Society lectures are open to the public and are completely free. Lectures are followed by refreshments.
Click here for a downloadable programme brochure.


January 20, 2016

“Valiant Nova Scotians: The Province’s Recipients of the Victoria Cross”

Col. John Boileau (ret’d), Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, Canadian Armed Forces

Since Queen Victoria instituted the Victoria Cross in 1856 it has been awarded 1,363 times, including to 98 Canadians, five of whom were Nova Scotians. In an illustrated talk, John Boileau explains the background to the creation of the Victoria Cross, the history of the award over the years and a detailed description of the lives and military actions of the Nova Scotia recipients of this prestigious gallantry decoration.

Click here for a bio of Col. John Boileau.


February 17, 2016

“Surviving War and Adapting to Village Life: Ella Barron, A Dutch War Bride in Ingonish, Cape Breton”

Ken Donovan (ret’d), Parks Canada Historian

Cornelia Aletta Iske (Ella) was one of 48,000 war brides who came to Canada after 1945. During the war, Ella’s family of nine children struggled merely to survive. Ella met Alex Barron of Ingonish and they were married in Holland in January 1946. Arriving in Cape Breton in June 1946, she and Alex eventually raised a family of 10 children. Some adjustments, however, were necessary: Ella spoke Dutch; she was a Protestant in a Catholic community; she was a city woman in a village.

Click here for a bio of Ken Donovan.


March 16, 2016

“The Triumph of the ‘Larger Unit’: Origins and Impact of the School Consolidation Movement in Antigonish County, 1923 to 2012”

Paul W. Bennett, Founding Director of Schoolhouse Institute and Adjunct Professor of Education, Saint Mary’s University

The modern school consolidation movement, pioneered in Alberta between 1913 and 1919, eventually emerged a decade later in full force in the Maritimes. In April 1923, Pastor James Boyle of Havre Boucher, Antigonish County, NS, dismissed the one school “district unit” as a relic of the past and signaled the advent of school consolidation to address the impoverishment of rural schools. Building upon research undertaken for Vanishing Schools, Threatened Communities (2011), this lecture will explore and analyze the origins, extent and impact of the first school consolidation movement in Antigonish County from the 1920s until the full adoption of the “Larger Unit” as provincial policy in 1954.

Click here for a bio of Paul W. Bennett.


April 20, 2016

“Outslicking Sam Slick: The Mysterious Stranger (Henry More Smith) in Nova Scotia: 1812‐1815”

Gwendolyn Davies, University of New Brunswick

Note: This lecture takes place at our Annual Banquet at the Dalhousie University Club. Tickets will be available to purchase in March.

In 1812, a charming young English trickster swept through Rawdon, Windsor, Halifax, and Pictou leaving behind a trail of identities and audacious thefts. Condemned to death in New Brunswick in 1814 for horse theft, he was nonetheless back in Nova Scotia in 1815 embarking yet again on a life of audacious crime and inspiring Sheriff Walter Bates’ 1817 bestseller, The Mysterious Stranger.

Click here for bio of Gwendolyn Davies.


May 18, 2016

“Immigration to Atlantic Canada: Historical Reflections”

John Reid, Saint Mary’s University

Note: Lecture will follow our Annual General Meeting and will take place in the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Theatre at Pier 21.

Presented in conjunction with the Immigration to Atlantic Canada Conference This lecture will present a broad analysis of historical immigration patterns in Atlantic Canada, setting migration within an Indigenous context and distinguishing between Newfoundland and the Maritime region. The twin processes of Indigenous dispossession and settler colonization will be considered as contexts for Atlantic Canada’s roles and responsibilities in a world increasingly shaped both by the need to recognize the rights of Indigenous peoples and by the forces of global migration.

Click here for a bio of John Reid.

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