First Nova Scotian February holiday to honour Viola Desmond, students ask to name future holidays

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Several years ago, Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp in Viola Desmond’s honour.

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Next year's inaugural February holiday will be named for Viola Desmond, but Nova Scotia students will have a chance to submit names for future editions of the holiday.

The 2015 holiday will recognize Viola Desmond, the African Nova Scotian businesswoman who was wrongfully jailed and fined in 1946 for refusing to give up her seat in the white peoples' section of a New Glasgow movie theatre. Watch the Long Road to Justice: The Viola Desmond Story to learn more about her story.

The holiday will be celebrated on the third Monday in February, beginning in 2015, giving Nova Scotians six statutory holidays per year.

Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan and Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Tony Ince launched the naming campaign Feb. 17 with Grade 4 students at Bedford South School.

The campaign invites Primary to Grade 12 classes across the province to submit two things, a press release said:  a general name for the holiday that instills pride in being Nova Scotian and  a suggestion that recognizes a significant cultural and/or historic contribution to Nova Scotia.

"Not only will students help name the February holiday, they'll help us come up with a list of some of the remarkable people, places and events that have made Nova Scotia what it is today," said Regan. "Each year, we'll celebrate a different contribution to Nova Scotia's storied past and diverse culture, and learn more about our history in the process."

Each class can submit one entry per category at www.novascotia.ca/februaryholiday until March 28.

A panel will review the entries and recommend names to Regan.The holiday's name, and the next 12 contributions to be celebrated, will be announced before the end of the school year.

 

Organizations: African Nova Scotian, Bedford South School

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, New Glasgow, Long Road

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