First February holiday in Nova Scotia will recognize Viola Desmond

The Canadian Press
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HALIFAX — The first February holiday in Nova Scotia will recognize Viola Desmond, a black woman who was jailed and fined in 1946 for refusing to give up her seat in the whites-only section of a New Glasgow movie theatre.

The Nova Scotia government announced Monday that the first February holiday in 2015 will be named in honour of Viola Desmond.

The provincial government made the announcement as it launched a naming campaign for the holiday, which begins on the third Monday in February of next year.

Students from Primary to Grade 12 classes are invited to come up with a general name for the holiday intended to instill pride in Nova Scotia.

The government says submissions should also recognize a significant cultural or historic contribution to the province.

Labour Minister Kelly Regan says each year, the holiday will celebrate a different contribution to Nova Scotia’s past.

The name of the new holiday and the next 12 contributions to be honoured are expected to be announced before the end of the school year.

Each class can submit entries until March 28 and a panel will review them and recommend names to Regan.

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia.The

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  • caper
    February 17, 2014 - 21:59

    oh the insanity of it all!! If it has been written that the holiday in February is to be called Viola Desmond Day then leave it at that! Don't change it every year that is insane . One holiday =one name!. Personally I don't know why they just didn't leave it at Family Day like it is everywhere else.

  • Joseph Sampson
    February 17, 2014 - 19:43

    To Loni...I couldn't agree with you more. If "Family Day" is good enough for most of this country, it should be good enough for Nova Scotia as well!!

  • Vicki
    February 17, 2014 - 19:15

    Wow, Matthew, you area nasty one! Was that last sentence a slam against John Allan Cameron? I just love types like you and 'History Teacher" who judge the world of 100+ years ago by the standards we have today. All of the knowledge and lesson learned by mankind in the past 100 + years is combined and used to measure the behavior of the humble folk who suffered through the pioneer days in NS. and Cape Breton. Viola Desmond's life and sacrifice has been shared with those who were interested by the Federal Government when they issued a stamp in her honour. And a day to honour her and others, annually, on "Family Day", is fine with me!

    • Slumberjack
      February 17, 2014 - 20:12

      Apparently too few people seem concerned with dredging up the standards of 100+ years ago as a cause for recognition and celebration.

  • Slumberjack
    February 17, 2014 - 19:12

    This decision is consistent with Liberal ideology in general, which inevitably gears itself toward satisfying no one.

  • History teacher
    February 17, 2014 - 18:34

    Personally, I don't like the 'revolving door' approach - it should be all or nothing. Why is an African Nova Scotian woman not worthy of a holiday? And if there is EVER a Cornwallis day, you might as well call it Columbus Day if you want to celebrate colonial genocide. Hopefully current P-12 students will show they have a broader sense of Nova Scotia heritage than those who haven't read a history book since 1960.

    • Lorne from the Pier
      February 17, 2014 - 18:54

      I tend to agree with History teacher. Maybe we could alternate, call it Cornwallis day on years that end with an odd number, and then call it Columbus day on years that end with an even number. After all, they are BOTH deserving of a holiday in their honour after all the good they have done for Nova Scotia so many years ago.

    • Slumberjack
      February 17, 2014 - 19:08

      It would be a huge mistake for the government to invoke Cornwallis' name as someone worthy of celebration.

  • David
    February 17, 2014 - 17:05

    I think it would be more appropriate to call it Cornwallis day. After all, he did more for Nova Scotia than this woman ever did!!

    • Biscuit
      February 18, 2014 - 07:31

      All he did was commit genocide. I'm pretty sure there is no such thing as Hitler Day.

  • Pleased
    February 17, 2014 - 15:04

    Awesome tribute to a wonderful brave woman. Its nice the province is finally recognizing her contribution to NS history and giving us a holiday in February.

  • Paul MacDonald
    February 17, 2014 - 13:49

    Well,it could have been worse. Every year could have been named after this Desmond woman. i would suggest in future years, Alexander Graham Bell ,John Cabot, Joseph Howe, Nicolas Deny, Sir William Alexander or John Allan Cameron

    • Ken Jardine
      February 17, 2014 - 14:45

      Well said Paul.

    • Matthew
      February 17, 2014 - 15:26

      I for one, think naming the holiday after ,John Cabot, Joseph Howe, Nicolas Deny, Sir William Alexander is actually the worst case. Some of these names are extensions of colonialism, if we want to have something to celebrate it shouldn't be in honour of historical figures who exploited the land and sent the 'New World' in to a downward spiral. I'm all for naming the holiday after Viola Desmond, she is a great example of what it means to be Nova Scotian, hard working, and fearless. She has done more in her short life than any celtic folksinger has ever done.

    • Bob LeDrew
      February 17, 2014 - 17:35

      Why not honour a courageous Nova Scotian like Ms. Desmond, who took her action nearly 10 years before the much more famous Rosa Parks? She deserves the accolade for at least this year.

  • Dmac
    February 17, 2014 - 13:23

    That is an acceptable compromise . It would have been a big mistake to name the holiday after her given there are far more worthy candidates who now will also be recognized in the following years.

    • Laurie
      February 17, 2014 - 17:02

      Great thinking Matthew. February is Black History Month and I think it is fitting that we honor the many people who stood up for what is right all by themselves the way she (Viola) did. There must be so many in our province and we could be educated throughout the coming years.

    • Loni
      February 17, 2014 - 17:46

      Well I will be the first to say it...Everywhere else in the country it is called "Family Day"...Not named after anyone for any reason. Just a day to spend with your family and appreciate them. Nothing to do with right movements or our disgusting past as a society, The N.S Government messed another one up and should have kept "Family Day" and followed up with another holiday for Viola Desmond.