‘The Nova Scotia Nine’

Who Were These Women?
I created this large-scale, contemporary portrait collection – seen above – to honor women of Nova Scotia: innovators, independent thinkers, leaders, educators, creators – who accomplished amazing things on Nova Scotia’s soil. Each shaped our culture, and character as Nova Scotians and Canadians – yet few know their faces or stories:

They broke old barriers of prejudice, against people and animals. They built new bridges, of communication and peace and healing. And they paved new international paths, in athletics and publishing and education.

The portrait series, which now hangs in RBC Dominion Securities’ 14th floor boardroom at Purdy’s Wharf, honors:

Rita Joe
Often referred to as the “poet laureate” of the Mi’kmaq people, Rita Joe empowered people through her writing. “Our history,” she said, “would be different if it had been expressed by us.”

Mabel Bell
The wife of a creative, eccentric genius, Mabel Bell realized powerful business, educational and creative projects in Nova Scotia.

Aileen Meagher
Back in the day when ‘a lady did not run’, Halifax’s Aileen Meagher cut off her brother’s trousers to make running shorts and turned herself into an international track star.

Viola Desmond
Forcibly removed from an N.S. movie theatre for refusing to give up her seat, Viola helped spark Canada’s civil rights movement – more than a decade before Rosa Parks rose to prominence.

Anna Leonowens
The inspiration for the movie The King and I, Anna Leonowens helped change Nova Scotia’s social, political and historical landscape and helped establish its first art college- now the internationally-respected Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University.

Muriel Duckworth
An internationally acclaimed peace activist, Duckworth was the first women from Halifax to run for a seat in the Nova Scotia Legislature. She was an Order of Canada recipient, and was awarded the Pearson Peace Medal.

Edith Jessie Archibald
Suffragette and community activist, Archibald spent 30 years fighting to give Nova Scotia women some power in society – first and foremost, securing them the vote.

Margaret Marshall Saunders
Margaret Marshall Saunders’ ground-breaking book, Beautiful Joe, became the first book by a Canadian author to sell more than a million copies, and sparked a shift in Canadians’ consciousness: it started them thinking about how animals should be treated and, ultimately, helped earn Saunders The Order of the British Empire.

Marie-Henriette LeJeune-Ross
Nova Scotia soil gave birth to this uniquely Canadian “first”: a 17th-century trail-blazing woman of science, LeJeune-Ross (aka “Granny Ross”) was a respected healer and health pioneer.


6 Responses

  1. Amazing work. Not only is it inspiring to see someone recognizing these amazing women but to do it in such an insightful and thoughtful way is truly a blessing for all Nova Scotians and Canadians. Thanks for doing this, it teaches, inspires, and creates a sense of pride for me as a Nova Scotian.

  2. And what if the not-so-young girls we have become kept asking “what could I do?” or even “what more could I do?. Soon to be 62, I’m still seeking and accepting inspiration and will look up (to) the Nova Scotia Nine next time I’m over your way.

  3. granny ross was my husband’s fifth grt. grandmother so i am really interested in your project. thanks for telling the stories of these amazing women. Mary Phillips sydney n.s.

  4. Yes, this will be a great display of history, and I’m looking forward to seeing and knowing more. Marie LeJeune Ross was my third g. grandmother. Alan Ross, Kodiak, Alaska.

  5. Granny Ross was my GGG Grandmother. It sure is great to see the recognition tto these exceptional individuals as they richly deserve it.

    Terry Downey
    Stephenville Crossing

  6. Terry, “Granny” was my GGG Grandmother as well. Do contact me if you’d like.

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