Government House Lectures – Winter 2018 Schedule

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Evenings @ Government House
Winter 2018 Series
Three themes/anniversaries are marked in this series:
  • African Heritage Month 2018 (Educate, Unite, Celebrate Community)
  • Centenary of the end of the First World War
  • Centenary of women attaining the right to vote in Nova Scotia

13 February – To mark African Heritage Month 2018, Vanessa Fells of the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre will present on the Black Loyalists of Nova Scotia.

27 February – Dr. Sally Ross will present on the history of Acadian schools in Nova Scotia from 1758 to 2018: Challenges and Victories.

13 March – Professional musicians Patricia Creighton and Peter Allen will give a Flute and Piano Recital.

27 March – To commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War, Dr. Brian Tennyson will present on Nova Scotia’s Experience of the First World War.

10 April – To celebrate Tartan Day, the Amethyst Scottish Dancers of Nova Scotia will perform both traditional and modern highland and step dances.

24 April To commemorate the centenary of many women attaining the right to vote in Nova Scotia, Dr. Heidi MacDonald will present on this important stage in the suffrage movement.

These are free public events – everyone is welcome

Government House is located at 1451 Barrington Street, Halifax. All events commence at 7:00pm and doors open to the public at 6:30pm. As seating is limited to 90, people wishing to attend must register by calling 902-424-7001 or by visiting the Evenings @ Government House section under News & Events on the official website at: or by emailing For more information and to view upcoming events in the series visit or follow the Lieutenant Governor on Twitter @LtGovNS and Facebook.

This schedule is available as a PDF download.

Conference: “Canada before Confederation: Early Exploration and Mapping, 1498-1763”

Canada before Confederation: Early Exploration and Mapping

MTA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Monday, 13 November 2017 at 8:00 AM – Tuesday, 14 November 2017 at 9:00 PM (AST)
Halifax, NS

To be held at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic; registration closes Nov. 2, 2017

Further details here


In Commemoration of Reverend William A. White & the No. 2 Construction Battalion

Voyage-of-discoveryOn Friday, October 21st and Saturday, October 22nd 2016, a symposium will take place at Acadia University in honour of Reverend William A. White and the No. 2 Construction Battalion. It is a very full day and a half of activity during which there will be displays of student research, exhibits of WW1 material, and panel discussions on the service and sacrifice of the men of the No. 2. For information and registration, please visit

The Nova Scotia Archaeology Society Public Talk – 29 September, 2015

Forensic Investigation of the 17th Century Chesapeake

Owsley lecture Sept 2015_small

Click to download lecture poster

Dr. Owsley’s talk launches the Nova Scotia Archaeology Society’s 2015-16 lecture series, which is dedicated to the theme of archaeological science. Many of the talks pertain to material cultural research right here in Nova Scotia. Dr. Douglas Owsley will be visiting us at Saint Mary’s next week (Tues., 29 Sept.) to give a public lecture on his recent forensic work at early 17th century Jamestown.

September 29 – 7:00 pm
McNally Theatre/Auditorium,
Saint Mary’s University, 923 Robie Street, Halifax.

A backgrounder may be found here, courtesy of the BBC:



Nova Scotian Institute of Science Public Talk – RESCHEDULED to March 16

NOTE: New Date and Location for this Lecture!

Click to download lecture poster


The Shipwrecks of Halifax Harbour and Approaches”

Gordon Fader – President, Atlantic Marine Geological Consulting

7:30pm, Monday, March 16th, 2015
Helen Creighton Room, Alderney Gate Public Library
40 Alderney Drive, Dartmouth, NS.

Important Reminder: On the evening of the lecture, the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge will close for repairs at 7:00pm. If you live on the Halifax side of the harbour and wish to attend the NSIS lecture, please remember to either leave early to cross the Macdonald Bridge, or use the MacKay Bridge, or take the ferry to Alderney Landing.


During mapping of Halifax Harbour and approaches by the Geological Survey of Canada at BIO, numerous shipwrecks were discovered. Only a few were previously known and the discoveries opened a new chapter in the history of the Harbour. With assistance from the Maritime Museum and local divers, Gordon Fader was able to piece together the stories of their demise. Additionally, knowledge of the seabed using modern high resolution mapping technology has revealed detailed characteristics of the vessels and what has happened to them since their sinking. The stories of the shipwrecks will be elaborated against a background of the seabed of the Harbour.

All are welcome but seating is limited so “first come first served”!

For more details about the Nova Scotian Institute of Science at

Evenings @ Government House Public Talk – 21 April 2015

DSCN0585“Thibodeau Village: Community Engagement, Archaeology and the Discovery of an Acadian Past in a Nova Scotia Planter Landscape”

Sara Beanlands

Date: Tuesday April 21, 2015
Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm (Doors open at 6:30pm)
Location: Government House, 1451 Barrington Street, Halifax
Registration: Call 902-424-7001 or register online

Sara Beanlands is a Principal and Senior Archaeologist with Boreas Heritage Consulting Inc., specializing in cultural resource management. Graduating from Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Arts in 1998, and completing a Master’s degree in History at Saint Mary’s University in 2010, Sara has undertaken a wide range of archaeological projects throughout Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and in Ontario. She has served as President of the Nova Scotia Archaeology Society, currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Archaeological Land Trust of Nova Scotia and the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, and recently joined the faculty at Saint Mary’s University as an adjunct professor in the Department of Anthropology.

During the summer of 2013, Sara directed a large public archaeology programme on a farm in the small rural community of Poplar Grove that contains both Pre-Deportation Acadian archaeological resources and evidence of early Planter occupation. Offering a unique opportunity to explore the cultural interface of Acadian/Planter settlement in Nova Scotia, participants in the public programme included direct descendants of both the original Acadian and Planter families who occupied the site.

This is a free public event, everyone is welcome.
For more information and to view upcoming events in the series visit or follow the Lieutenant Governor on Twitter @LtGovNS and Facebook

New Book: Voyage of Discovery: Fifty Years of Marine Research at Canada’s Bedford Institute of Oceanography

Voyage-of-discoveryMembers and friends of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society may be interested in a new book that commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of marine research accomplishments of the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO). Since 1962, BIO, based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, has been Canada’s premier, multidisciplinary marine research facility. Over the past five decades, researchers at BIO have made significant contributions to global understanding of the oceans.

Voyage of Discovery: Fifty Years of Marine Research at Canada’s Bedford Institute of Oceanography summarizes research on the oceanography of the Arctic and Eastern Canada in a series of 48 papers by past and present research staff from all oceanographic disciplines. Members of the Society may be particularly interested in the chapter by Dalhousie Historian of Science, Dr. Eric Mills, entitled “Canadian Marine Science from before Titanic to the Establishment of the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in 1962.” Two other chapters trace the historical roots of BIO.

Voyage of Discovery was prepared with a broad readership in mind and was launched at BIO on 20 November 2014. Further details about this new book, published by the BIO-Oceans Association, are found in the attached Table of Contents and Announcement / Order Form. Note: See the NSIS website for the files mentioned.

Old Sydney Society Lecture – 27 March 2014

To “The Ice”: Cape Breton and Mainland Nova Scotia’s Participation in the Seal Hunt 1825-1845″

Sandy Balcom will speak at the next meeting of the Old Sydney Society on 27 March 2014, 7:30 PM at the Centre for Heritage and Science, 225 George St., Sydney.

During the mid-1820s, Nova Scotia’s maritime entrepreneurs looked with envy at the tremendous growth in Newfoundland’s seal hunt, which concentrated on the taking of immature harp seals on the ice-fields in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and more significantly to the north of Newfoundland. Occurring at a time of year when vessels and crews were typically under-employed, the seal hunt appeared  a natural complement to the province’s existing maritime trades and fisheries. On Cape Breton, a modest seal hunt already existed, which focused on the taking of young and adult seals in the Gulf of St. Lawrence as soon as ice conditions permitted. Entrepreneurs successfully lobbied for a bounty to encourage sealing, which began in 1833 and continued annually, with one exception, until 1844. In spite of this encouragement, the industry faced inconsistent returns, difficulties in obtaining competent crews and threats from ice and weather to vessels and crews.  Although some growth was achieved, the bounty did not achieve its overall objective of fostering a sealing industry and was eliminated after 1844. Cape Breton participation in the seal hunt continued but this effort at diversifying the province’s traditional maritime economy failed to meet its expectations.

This talk will be streamed live on the internet at:

World Premiere of “Never A Syllable” – 25-29 March

NeverASyllable “Never A Syllable” provides an original and provocative interpretation of what happened in Halifax and Nova Scotia during the War of 1812.  Written by Paul Robinson with Pamela Halstead and presented by Onelight Theatre in association with Alderney Landing,


November 13, 1813 ~

As war rages in the Canadas, a hurricane devastates much of Britain’s Halifax-based North Atlantic fleet. Amid the devastation, an order is received from the Governor General: 220 sailors, recent recruits from the London streets, are to be sent 1,500 km overland from Halifax to Kingston in the dead of winter—a route that few settlers have crossed, where the assistance of the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet is crucial to survival.

The Admiral is also facing challenges closer to home—the growing unhappiness of his daughter in this garrison town and increasing demands from restless local leaders who are determined to turn Halifax into the jewel of the North.


Starring Gordon White, John Dartt, Brian Heighton, Andrea Lee Norwood and Michael McPhee. See for details and ticket information.