Did you know?
History of Diversity

The history of Africville can be traced back to 1838 when descendants of American slaves settled on the northern edge of Halifax. It was initially known as Campbell Road but, because of its black population, it was quickly dubbed Africville.

Resource / Link: http://archives.cbc.ca/society/racism/topics/96/

Municipal Diversity Policies

The Halifax Regional Municipality’s Community & Race Relations Advisory Committee is currently inactive and the committee structure is under review.

Resource / Link: http://www.halifax.ca/boardscom/commrrel/index.html

Provincial/Federal Policies

On December 13, 2007, Communications Nova Scotia (a provincial government agency) became the first government entity to be recognized by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission as a diversity champion in the workplace.

Resource / Link: http://www.gov.ns.ca/news/details.asp?id=20071213002

Diversity of Elected Representatives

Before being elected to the Nova Scotia Legislature in 2006, Percy Pais, NDP was the Director of Dalhousie University’s Diversity Initiative and has also acted a Black Student Advisor. As an entrepreneur, Percy has been the President and majority owner of his own investment and holding company as well as a consulting company.

Resource / Link: http://nslegislature.ca/index.php/people/members/Percy_Paris


The immigrant population in Halifax has increased over the 15 years ending in 2001 at nearly the same pace as the Canadian-born population. Over the period of 1986 to 2001, the number of immigrants living in Halifax increased by 4,000 or 19%. In comparison, Halifax’s Canadian-born population increased by 57,000 or 21%.

Resource /Link: Recent Immigrants in Metropolitan Areas: A Comparative Profile Based on the 2001 Census

Diversity/Equity Initiatives in Education

The Respect for Diversity Day in schools is supported by the Nova Scotia Department of Education’s Respect for Diversity Planning Resource. This planning resource is based on research and existing models used by Horton District High School (Annapolis Valley Regional School Board) and the Department of Education in collaboration with the Multicultural Association of Nova Scotia (Youth Against Racism, YAR). (2007)

Resource / Link: http://www.ednet.ns.ca/student/respect_for_diversity_web.pdf

Police/Minority Relations

Third racism complaint filed against Halifax police department (2009).

Resource / Link: http://www.metronews.ca/halifax/halifax-police-department

The Diverse Community

Many officials saw diversity as key to attracting and retaining immigrants, and expressed anxiety that Halifax’s relative homogeneity may limit its social and economic development. (Karin Kronstal and Jill L. Grant School of Planning Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia May 2010 (Project Working Paper) Ethnic Diversity and Immigrant Integration in Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Resource / Link: http://suburbs.planning.dal.ca/newcomer_Integration.pdf

Religious Groups/Facilities

Churches were an important part of African-Canadian communities. Church was more than just a place for worship, it was a community meeting place. Often African Canadians were not welcomed into churches that served other Canadians. African Canadians started their own churches and had their own ministers. Black churchgoers broke away from the Methodist Church in 1784 to form the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1854, many Black Baptists in Nova Scotia left the Baptist church and formed their own association, the African United Baptist Association. In the early days, there were many different Black churches, including the African Baptist Church, African Methodist Episcopal and British Methodist Episcopal churches. 

Resource / Link: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/021013-2011.25-e.html

Aboriginal Services

For her 2008 project, The Urban Aboriginal Guide to Halifax, Ursula Johnson drew on her own experiences as a bewildered teenager moving to the metropolis and the experiences of her counterparts at the Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre where she volunteered. (The Urban Aboriginal: Ursula Johnson on Art, Politics and Identity by NATASCIA L, December 9, 2010

Resource / Link: http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/story/urban-aboriginal/5410

Diverse Arts and Cultural Scene

The Nova Scotian culture is a quirky character with Acadian, Mi’kmaq, Scottish and African Nova Scotian foundations.

Resource / Link: www.novascotia.com

The Black Cultural Centre, established in 1983 with a mandate to promote, protect and preserve Black culture, was the first centre of its kind in Canada.

Resource / Link: www.bccns.com

Shauntay Grant is the Mayor’s Poet Laureate and a Nova Scotian writer, spoken word performer, musician, and broadcast journalist.

Resource / Link: www.halifax.ca/cah/PoetLaureate.html


In 2002, the former site of Africville was designated a National Historic Landmark, by the Government of Canada.

Resource / Link: www.africville.ca

On Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010, Mayor Peter Kelly, on behalf of Halifax Regional Council and Halifax Regional Municipality, apologized for the loss of the historic Halifax community of Africville in the 1960s.

Resource / Link: http://halifax.ca/Africville/newsrelease.html

The Media

“So why is it when I watched a one hour television newscast this week I saw ten anchors and reporters cover twelve stories, give two weather reports, conduct two in studio interviews, voice over a health report, and get no less then twenty-three streeters and interviews for their stories and the only minority I saw was a black women walking down a street in some b-roll?” Diversity in the Media, November 16, 2010 by Video Journalist and Blogger Glen Canning

Resource / Link: www.glencanning.com/16/diversity-in-the-media/

Human Rights Policies

April 2, 2009  - Black firefighters file human rights complaint, The Coast. The Struggle for Acceptance: The Black Experience in Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency, is a 15-page document with supporting evidence that was presented to the Human Rights Commission by the Halifax Association of Black Fire Fighters.

Resource / Link: www.thecoast.ca/halifax/black-firefighters-file-

Immigrant Settlement

Newcomers who dream of launching their own business venture in Canada can get a head start in Halifax. A new initiative there allows immigrant entrepreneurs to test the market before going into business.

Resource / Link: http://www.rcinet.ca/english/column/the