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Authority record
Nova Scotia Archives

African Nova Scotian Affairs Office

  • Corporate body

The Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs was provisionally established in 2003 in response to the Final Report on Consultations with the African Nova Scotian Community (July 2001). Amendments made to the Public Service Act in 2004 and proclaimed in January of 2005 officially established the Office whose object and purpose is to create and promote an integrated approach to matters relating to the African Nova Scotian community; to represent Nova Scotia in intergovernmental and other initiatives and negotiations on matters integral to the African Nova Scotian community; to provide the minister responsible with research analysis and policy advice on African Nova Scotia issues; to develop cooperatively communication strategies and public education in order to improve general understanding and appreciation of African Nova Scotia culture, heritage and community identity; and to advocate for the interests and concerns of the African Nova Scotian community. Wayn Hamilton was appointed as the Office’s Chief Executive Officer in September of 2005. In January 2011 the Office was integrated into the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage for administrative purposes through legislative amendments under the Government Administration Amendment (2011) Act which removed the Office as a separate and distinct public body.

Avon Gold Mines Ltd.

  • Corporate body
  • 1903-1955

Gold was first discovered at Oldham, Nova Scotia in 1861, and was actively mined by a group of British capitalists under the name Oldham Sterling Gold Company from 1870 until it went into insolvency. The mine was then bought by Mr. B.G. Gray of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in 1903 acquired by William Arthur Brennan (1851-1916), a journalist and publisher from Summerside, Prince Edward Island. W.A. Brennan managed the mine via correspondence with hired supervisors, including his younger son Charles Victor Brennan in 1908-1909. Upon William Brennan’s death in 1916, the mine was inherited by his wife and 2 sons, Rosara Lefurgey Brennan (1858-1942), Arthur Roland Brennan (1882-1951), and C. Victor (1887-1961), with Rosara’s interests later passing to her daughter, Dorothy J. Sharp (b.1888). At the time of his father’s death, Victor was a mining engineer in British Columbia so the mine was managed by Arthur R. with his brother’s advice. The mine operated sporadically under the name Acadia Gold Mines Ltd. in the 1920s but suffered financial difficulties. After a few attempts, the family sold shares in the property to a Montreal group of investors under the name Avon Gold Mines Ltd. in 1935, to raise operating capital. Arthur R. Brennan continued as mine manager, with brother Victor’s advice, and corresponded with on-site personnel while operating his Journal Publishing Company in Summerside, PE. In 1943, Avon Gold Mines Ltd. ceased operations due to wartime labour shortage and inability to pay their bills. In the early 1950s, ownership of the mining properties at Oldham reverted back to Arthur’s son William R. Brennan, who was unable to find new investors. By 1955 the mine was closed, and assets sold.

Benjamin, R. Allen

  • Person
  • 1920-2014

Robert Allen Benjamin (1920-2014), professional photographer, was born 3 November 1920 in Brookfield, Colchester County, Nova Scotia, Canada to Stairs Benjamin (1891-1936) and Helen Francis (Titus) Benjamin (1910-1950). Shortly after his birth, the family moved to 49 Lyle Street in Dartmouth, NS. He studied photography in New York City, then in 1940 opened a photographic business Industrial Commercial Portraits which became Benjamin Studio in 1947, located in the Bell Building in Dartmouth, NS. The business lasted until 1970. He died in Deland, Florida, United States on 25 July 2014.

Commission of Inquiry Concerning the Adequacy of Compensation Paid to Donald Marshall Jr.

  • Corporate body
  • 1990

The Report of the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall Jr. prosecution had recommended that the issue of compensation for Marshall be revisited. On March 22, 1990 an Order-in-Council was passed appointing Gregory T. Evans, Chief Justice of the Ontario High Court, as a commission of one to examine the adequacy of compensation paid to Donald Marshall Jr., in light of what the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall Jr., Prosecution found to be factors contributing to this wrongful conviction and continued incarceration. W. Wylie Spicer was appointed Commission Counsel. Hearings were held early in April 1990 and the Commission reported its findings on July 5, 1990.

Crook, Jean

  • Person
  • 1920-2011

Jean Hazel (Nickerson) Crook (1920-2011) was born 14 August 1920 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She studied piano and organ at Maritime Academy of Music in Halifax from 1935 to 1941 and began teaching piano at age 16. She was a founding member of the Dartmouth Chapter of the NS Registered Music Teachers Association, was a member of staff at the Academy of Music 1943-1944, organist and choir director for St. Albans Anglican Church in Dartmouth, NS during the 1940s, then for Emmanuel Anglican Church from the 1970s until retirement. She married George W. Crook on 4 September 1948 and had 3 children. She continued to teach piano lessons in her home until the 1990s. She died 21 June 2011, in Dartmouth, NS.

Fry, Violet M.

  • Person
  • 1902-1991

Violet Marian (Currie) Fry (1902-1991), housewife, mother of four, and a survivor of the Halifax Explosion of December 6, 1917, was born August 2, 1902 in Halifax, Nova Scotia to James McLean Currie (1869-1941) and Prudence (Sharpe) Currie (1875-1954). At the time of the Explosion, Violet was 15 years old, living with her parents and seven siblings at 90 North Kline Street where her father owned a dairy and delivered milk by horse and wagon. Violet survived the north end disaster as did her family, and their house became a shelter for many who were homeless. In April 1922 Violet married Wilfred A. “Mick” Fry (1901-1972), a machinist, and they had four children: Douglas, Wallace, Marion and Joyce. Violet died on April 23, 1991 in Halifax.

Gschwind, John Frederick

  • Person
  • ca.1748-1827

John Frederick Traugott Gschwind (ca.1748-1827), Hessian army and Nova Scotia militia officer, physician, and office holder, was born circa 1748 in Oberdaubnitz, near Meissen, Saxony (German Democratic Republic). In 1776 he arrived in New York City, United States as part of the Hessian army recruited by the British government to suppress the colonial rebellion. In October 1778, his regiment was transferred to Halifax, Nova Scotia and he became a military surgeon with a civilian medical practice on the side. He married Anna Fletcher (1750-1805) on August 3, 1782 and they had one daughter, also named Anna. When his regiment returned to Europe after the conclusion of the Treaty of Paris in 1783, Gschwind stayed in Halifax. As a reward for his military service, he was granted land in Halifax County in 1784 and 1788. In 1793 he was appointed surgeon of the 2nd Halifax Militia Regiment, promoted to surgeon and physician general of the provincial militia in 1796. He was appointed health officer for the Port of Halifax in 1799, responsible for inspection of incoming ships to prevent the spread of contagious diseases, a post he held until 1825. He died 2 September 1827 in Halifax.

Lee, Albert

  • Person
  • 1952-

Albert Oy Lee (1952- ), amateur historian and professional photo-journalist, was born in 1952 in Halifax, Nova Scotia to Shew Chuck Lee (1907-1990) and Sui Fa (Kung) Lee. He graduated from New York Institute of Photography and the Germain School of Photography in New York, United States in 1970 and from Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario in 1973. He worked as a freelance photographer in Toronto, New York, Southeast Asia and the Atlantic provinces of Canada. Albert Lee researched his family’s immigration to Canada from Hoi Ping, Guangdong Province, China and became interested in the history of Chinese immigration to the Maritimes. In 1997 he organized an historical exhibit for the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History in Halifax, NS then joined Saint Mary’s University Gorsebrook Research Institute (GRI) as a research associate. He has published articles and given public talks in Halifax and in Vancouver, BC, recorded interviews with community members, and worked with the University of British Columbia Library on a digital exhibit for the internet in 2011-2012.

Lorne White family

  • Family

Ronald Lorne White (1928-2008), teacher, administrator and professional singer, was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1928 the 12th child of Rev. Captain William Andrew White (1874-1936) and Izie Dora (White) White Sealy Johnston (1890-1972). Lorne earned a Bachelor of Education degree in 1952 from Acadia University, then a Master of Physical Education in 1955 and Master of School Administration in 1975 from Dalhousie University. He taught school in Halifax 1952 to 1973 then was Vice Principal of Bloomfield Elementary and Junior High School 1973 to 1986, retired in 1986. He was also Principal Performer on CBC television show “Singalong Jubilee” 1960-1972 and acted in several television and theatre shows 1981-2007. In November 1955 he married fellow Acadia graduate Ann Mary (Hennigar) White (1933-2018) and had 3 daughters: Holly M., Shelly A. and Rosalie “Lee” J. White. Together with Lorne’s younger sister Yvonne White (b.1930), they performed religious concerts as the White Family Singers, 1980-1991. Lorne’s older sister Portia White (1911-1968) became internationally famous as a classical singer (opera) in the 1940s and 1950s, overcoming racism towards people of colour. Lorne’s father served overseas in the First World War as chaplain to the No. 2 Construction Battalion, a racially segregated Canadian military unit for people of colour, then served as pastor of the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church in Halifax (known as New Horizons Baptist Church in 2018). Lorne died in Halifax on 14 April 2008 and Mary died 19 November 2018.

Pachai, Bridglal, 1927-

  • Person
  • 1927-

Bridglal “Bridge” Pachai, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., D.C.L., is a respected educator, historian and author, born in Umbulwana, Natal, South Africa on November 30, 1927. He was educated in Ladysmith and graduated from the University of Natal with his Ph.D. in 1963. He taught at universities in Ghana and Malawi, then moved with his wife Leela and children to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1975 to teach history at Dalhousie University until 1977 when he became Director of Saint Mary’s University’s International Education Centre from 1977 to 1979. In September 1979 he took up the post of Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the newly established University of Sokoto, Nigeria. After six years he moved back to Halifax and served as Executive Director for the Black Cultural Centre of Nova Scotia, 1985 to 1989, then for Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, 1989 to 1994. He visited South Africa during its transition from apartheid to democracy, in 1991 and 1995. In 1998 he taught for a year in The Gambia. During his career he was general editor of the “Peoples of the Maritimes” book series for Four East Publications, lectured, wrote 17 books and published numerous articles on Blacks in Canada and in Nova Scotia, South Africa, multiculturalism and human rights education. His books include “Beneath the Clouds of the Promised Land Volume 1 1600-1800” (Black Educators Association of NS, 1987) and “Volume 2 1800-1989" (Lancelot Press, 1991), “Peoples of the Maritimes: Blacks" (Four East Publications 1987, 1993), “Historic Black Nova Scotia" (Nimbus 2006), and two autobiographies “My Africa, My Canada” (1989) and “Accidental Opportunities” (Roseway 2007). For his dedication, his leadership and his experience in improving race relations and working towards greater appreciation of the Canadian cultural mosaic he was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2000.

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