Order of Nova Scotia


Eldon Thomas George  

Eldon Thomas George, (Deceased)

Eldon Thomas George made international news when he discovered the world’s smallest dinosaur footprints along the shores of the Bay of Fundy. His lifelong passion for fossil collecting and his rare finds have brought world experts to his doorstep.

Eldon George was born and raised in Parrsboro. When a bad fall left him unable to play sports with his friends, he roamed the beaches of the Bay of Fundy, teaching himself geology, gemology, and paleontology. He became an expert in semi-precious stones and made significant fossil finds: an insect with three pairs of wings, a tiny horseshoe crab that fills a missing link in the area’s natural history, and a complete footprint of a Jurassic-age, crocodile-like creature.

Mr. George is a community leader and an ambassador for his town and the province. He was a founding member of the Nova Scotia Mineral and Gem Society. He founded the Rockhound Roundup in 1966, which continues today as the Nova Scotia Gem and Mineral Show, one of the oldest mineral shows in Canada. He was the force behind having Stilbite declared Nova Scotia’s provincial mineral in 1999. Among his many community efforts, he led the fight to save historic Ottawa House, which is now a museum and centre for genealogical research.

Eldon George has devoted over 70 years to rock hounding, fossil hunting and community leadership. His expertise is recognized internationally, promoting Nova Scotia as a destination rich in geological history. His work has helped to uncover the history of our land and bring world attention to the province.

Fred George

Fred George,

Fred George is an extraordinarily successful businessman, a proud Nova Scotian, and one of Canada’s greatest philanthropists.

Mr. George immigrated to Nova Scotia when he was 19, with a dream of making a better life for his family. He grew his Halifax mining company into the largest gold and silver producer in Mexico. He is listed among Canada’s top ten CEOs, receiving numerous business awards, including the Life Time Achievement Award from the Mining Society of Nova Scotia.

To inspire the next generation of leaders, Mr. George frequently gives lectures to university business students. In recognition of his contributions, Saint Mary’s University conferred upon him an Honorary Doctorate of Commerce. Mr. George has also earned a high level of respect from his peers for both his business success and community leadership and was invited by former President Bill Clinton to sit on his Foundation Board.

Mr. George supports many causes, giving generously of his time and knowledge. He helped to build a new school for Bridgeway Academy, a local school for students with learning disabilities. The Fred George Gymnasium at the Sacred Heart School of Halifax and the Fred George Leadership Course at St. Francis Xavier University recognize his contributions.

Mr. George has long supported the navy, veterans, military families, and Canada’s peacekeeping efforts. For his dedication, he was appointed Honorary Captain of the Royal Canadian Navy and travelled to Afghanistan with Canada’s military leaders to support our men and women in uniform.

Fred George has built an exemplary life, making our province a more caring place through his generous sharing of time and talents. 

Cecil Edwin Kinley

Cecil Edwin Kinley, (Deceased)
O.N.S., M.D., M.Sc., F.R.C.S., F.A.C.S.

Dr. Cecil Edwin Kinley was born in Halifax and studied medicine at Dalhousie University. He was instrumental in setting up one of the premiere cardiac surgical programs in the country and is truly a pioneer cardiovascular surgeon and scientist. He continues to serve the province in his many volunteer capacities.

Dr. Kinley joined the Dalhousie Surgery Department in 1963, where he practiced until 1998. His team started the Cardiac Surgery Program at the IWK Children’s Hospital and adult cardiac surgery at the Victoria General Hospital. He performed the first adult open heart surgery in Nova Scotia and the first coronary bypass operation when both of these procedures were in their infancy. He implanted the first cardiac pacemaker and established the first cardiac intensive care unit in Atlantic Canada. He developed a residency training program in cardiovascular surgery and training programs for intensive care nurses and respiratory therapists.

Dr. Kinley played varsity sports, establishing Soccer Nova Scotia and serving as its first president. He also served in the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve, retiring as Surgeon Lieutenant. Dr. Kinley was elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in 1997 and sat as a Member of the Legislature for the former riding of Halifax Citadel until 1998.

Dr. Kinley is known for his selfless service to others and for his energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to promote community health.

He is a distinguished heart surgeon, scientist, innovator and community leader. Nova Scotians will continue to benefit from his pioneering cardiovascular surgery programs for many generations.

Hetty (Hendrika) Margaretha van Gurp

Hetty (Hendrika) Margaretha van Gurp,

Dr. Hetty van Gurp is an internationally recognized peace educator with a lifelong commitment to teaching and justice. She founded Peaceful Schools International and served on Canada’s Human Rights Tribunal Panel.

Dr. van Gurp was a classroom teacher and principal for 30 years, with extensive assignments in Canada and the United States, including teaching students with special needs.

In 1991, Hetty van Gurp’s life was changed forever. Her son Ben, a grade 9 student, was thrown violently to the ground by a larger student and died of his injuries. Her son had suffered months of bullying prior to his death. In her grief, Hetty looked up at the empty flagpole of the school where she taught and said to a colleague, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one day schools could earn the right to fly a flag declaring they are places of peace?” Starting with that notion, she began to teach her students about peace, becoming a peace and mediation specialist. In 1998, she founded the League of Peaceful Schools, here in Nova Scotia, which evolved into Peaceful Schools International by 2001.

Dr. van Gurp is the author of four books for educators. Her work is featured in a National Film Board documentary called Teaching Peace in a Time of War.

Hetty van Gurp has brought honour to Nova Scotia through her tireless efforts to promote peace with students around the world. She has received numerous awards, including the “Me to We” Award from Free the Children, and was named a Canadian hero by Time Magazine and Reader’s Digest.


Raylene Marguerite Rankin (Anderson),

Raylene Rankin was born into a large, musical Cape Breton family. From an early age, she shared her musical talents at kitchen céilidhs, community events, and church services in Mabou and throughout the island.

Raylene graduated from Dalhousie Law School in 1987, was admitted to the Bar in 1988, and released The Rankin Family album with four of her siblings in 1989. This launched the musical group beyond Cape Breton and helped make Celtic music and Gaelic lyrics “cool.” Raylene became a full-time singer and songwriter who toured extensively with her family, performing in folk festival tents and concert halls around the world. The group sold over two million records and won dozens of awards, including six JUNOs and, most recently, an ECMA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Raylene’s three great loves were family, friends, and music. She considered the birth of her son her greatest achievement and took leave from the family band to enjoy precious time raising him. She continued her musical career with two solo albums, reunion tours, collaborations with other musicians, and hosting fellow musicians at the Red Shoe Pub in Mabou.

Leon Dubinsky’s “We Rise Again” became Raylene’s signature song. When she first performed this song in 1985, her pure Celtic voice brought listeners to tears, an effect repeated many times the world over.

Raylene Rankin is lovingly remembered for her warmth, her laugher, her voice, and her passionate commitment to her husband, her son, her family, her friends, and her music. She was a proud ambassador of our province and its Gaelic language and culture.