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Nova Scotia Heritage Day in Canada

Starting in 2015, Nova Scotia Heritage Day will be on the third Monday in February, celebrating provincial heroes and events.

Is Nova Scotia Heritage Day a Public Holiday?

Nova Scotia Heritage Day is a public holiday in Nova Scotia, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Lt.-Gov. Mayann Francis looks at a photo of Viola Desmond at an official apology ceremony.
Lt.-Gov. Mayann Francis looks at a photo of Viola Desmond at an official apology ceremony.
©Province of Nova Scotia/Communications Nova Scotia

Celebrate Your Local Hero

Nova Scotians can celebrate provincial heroes, like human rights activist Viola Desmond (July 6, 1914 – February 7, 1965), who challenged racial segregation at a film theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia in 1946. She refused to leave a whites-only area at the theatre and was convicted of a segregation-based tax violation. Her case became famous and influenced other equal rights activists to end segregation in the province.

In 2010, her sister Wanda Robson attended and spoke at a government ceremony where an apology and late pardon was given to Viola. This was the first time a free pardon was posthumously granted in Canada.

Nova Scotia Heritage Day is always on a Monday, so it gives people the chance to make the most of a long weekend and go on an out-of-town trip, catch up with friends and family, or relax at home.

It will coincide with other Canadian holidays on the same day, like Family Day.

What’s Open or Closed?

Provincial government offices, schools, and most businesses will be closed on Nova Scotia Heritage Day.

However, federal government offices and national businesses like banks, airlines and railways are open.

Check with your local public transport office on changes to bus and train schedules.

Schools Shape New Holiday

In early 2014, the Nova Scotian government started a campaign for the new holiday, asking schools to give it a name and suggest cultural or historical contributions that they could celebrate for the day. Three schools – Bayview Education Centre, Bible Hill Junior High and Northeast Kings Education Centre – came up with “Nova Scotia Heritage Day”. Schools also suggested a list of Nova Scotians, like Viola Desmond, and events to be remembered on the day.

Nova Scotia Heritage Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2015MonFeb 16Nova Scotia Heritage DayCommon local holidaysNova Scotia
2016MonFeb 15Nova Scotia Heritage DayCommon local holidaysNova Scotia
2017MonFeb 20Nova Scotia Heritage DayCommon local holidaysNova Scotia
2018MonFeb 19Nova Scotia Heritage DayCommon local holidaysNova Scotia
2019MonFeb 18Nova Scotia Heritage DayCommon local holidaysNova Scotia
2020MonFeb 17Nova Scotia Heritage DayCommon local holidaysNova Scotia

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