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Events planned as Nova Scotians honour Africville this Heritage Day

Monday's celebrations kick off at 10 a.m. with Sliding through Africville
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Africville Museum (Meghan Groff/HalifaxToday.ca)

Nova Scotians are gearing up for a long weekend as we mark Heritage Day on Monday.

First held in 2015, our newest holiday recognizes remarkable people, places and events that have contributed to our unique heritage.

Viola Desmond, Joseph Howe, Mi'kmaq heritage, Mona Louise Parsons and Maud Lewis have all been celebrated in previous years.

This year, we will honour Africville.

Located on the shores of the Bedford Basin, the small African Nova Scotian community existed for over 150 years.

"It was a community that had a lot of heart to it and was very self contained. There were a lot of little businesses inside here," said Africville Museum general manager Juanita Peters. "It was a place where people felt safe."

She told NEWS 95.7's Todd Veinotte those living in Africville paid the same taxes as everyone else in Halifax, but they did not have the benefit of the same services.

"Water, paved roads, garbage disposal, and yet there were a number of unfavourable things surrounding the community, like the open dump, the abattoir, the infectious disease hospital, the bone crushing plant," she explained.

The community was torn apart in the 1960s in the name of "urban renewal."

 "Imagine living in a community for three or four generations and having everything dismantled," Peters said.

Halifax Regional Municipality issued an official apology to the people of Africville in 2010. Along with it came the funding to recreate the community's church.

The replica of the Seaview Baptist Church is now home to the Africville Museum.

"When you come in, you will read the stories and the histories of what was important about Africville," said Peters. "Everything from who were the sporting teams of the day from Africville, to who were the people of Africville, what did they do."

Monday's celebrations kick off at 10 a.m. with Sliding through Africville.

"Bring your toboggans, crazy carpets or whatever you can slide on ... we'll have some hot chocolate courtesy of Tim Hortons," Peters said. "It's a great community day."

At 11 a.m., there will be a special dedication inside the museum and an announcement that Peters describes as "very special." She wouldn't say much else but did give this hint.

"I can tell you that the special announcement is significant to Africville. The story that we tell is all about the heart and soul of Africville and this will be a really great addition to that story."

After that, Halifax Transit will be providing a shuttle to Halifax Stanfield International Airport where another ceremony is planned for 12:45 p.m.

"Come for one event, come for two or come for all three and enjoy the day with us," encouraged Peters.


Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana & lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the community editor for HalifaxToday.ca.
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