Order of Nova Scotia


Left to Right: Walter Marven Borden; Richard Ballon Goldbloom; Premier Stephen McNeil; Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant; Stanley Paul Kutcher; Wanda Thomas Bernard.
Left to Right: Walter Marven Borden; Richard Ballon Goldbloom; Premier Stephen McNeil; Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant; Stanley Paul Kutcher; Wanda Thomas Bernard.


Walter Marven Borden
C.M., O.N.S, DCL, DLitt

New Glasgow

This internationally acclaimed poet, playwright, and actor was born in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, in 1942.  Raised within the precincts of the African United Baptist Association, Mr. Borden began his career as a teacher. 

In the late 1960s, at the height of the civil rights movement in Nova Scotia, Mr. Borden helped establish Kwaacha House – an interracial teen-oriented, drop-in and social education centre that served to inspire young Nova Scotians to fight for full equality of citizenship and full equality of opportunity for African-Nova Scotians.  He was educated, articulate, captivating and served as a mentor to many black Nova Scotians during this time.

Most prominent as a stage actor, Mr. Borden joined Halifax's Neptune Theatre Company in 1972 and has captivated audiences with his eloquence, humanity and soulful insight into each of his roles ever since.  His one man show, Tightrope Time, is an autobiographical examination of the politics of being black, gay, rural-raised but city-sophisticated, a community activist, and a privacy-loving intellectual.  It is seen as a collective history of the development of African Nova Scotia in response to the slave trade, racism, class exploitation, impoverishment, illiteracy, and homophobia.

Mr. Borden has never failed to combine education, acting and activism.  Fellow Order of Nova Scotia recipient Mr. George Elliott Clarke writes, “When he educates, he performs.  When he performs, he entertains and he educates.”  For his work, Mr. Borden has received numerous accolades, including honorary degrees, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, the African Nova Scotian Music Association’s Music Heritage Award, and the Portia White Prize.  He is also a Life Member of the Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists, receiving their distinguished Leslie Yeo Award for volunteerism, and a member of the Order of Canada. 

Dr. Richard Ballon Goldbloom, (Deceased)
O.C., O.N.S., BSc, MD, CM, FRCPC, DLitt, LLD


Dr. Goldbloom is an internationally acclaimed pediatrician who has played a central role in the cultural, community and educational life of Nova Scotia.  In 1967, Dr. Goldbloom was recruited from McGill University in Montreal to come to what was then the Halifax Children’s Hospital.  Over the past four decades, his leadership and vision have helped expand and develop the IWK Health Centre into one of the leading hospitals of its kind in Canada.

As physician-in-chief and director of research, Dr. Goldbloom promoted excellence in research at the IWK to attract experts in their fields, a move that has led to many innovations in the treatment of children. He also began the Read To Me! program which fights low literacy rates in Nova Scotia by providing reading materials to new parents.

Dr. Goldbloom is also an Officer of the Order of Canada, a recipient of the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, and Chancellor Emeritus of Dalhousie University.  Dr. Goldbloom is a tireless and dedicated supporter of Symphony Nova Scotia, and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, an organization founded by his late wife and fellow Order of Nova Scotia recipient, Dr. Ruth Goldbloom.

Stan Kutcher

Dr. Stanley Paul Kutcher

Herring Cove

Dr. Stanley Kutcher is an internationally renowned expert in adolescent mental health and an international leader in mental health research, advocacy and health services innovation.  He has served as Associate Dean International Health and as Head, Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University.  He has helped improve mental health care in Nova Scotia through the establishment of specialty clinical programs, first onset psychosis and improving crisis care.  A founding member of Laing House, he has led the development of school mental health programs reaching students throughout the province. He established the mental health research program, recruiting top researchers and academics to Nova Scotia and was instrumental in the establishment of the Life Sciences Development Association, Brain Repair Centre, and the International/Global Health Office.  He has created TeenMentalHealth.org, an internationally lauded and innovative knowledge translation resource meeting needs of youth, parents, educators and health providers. 

Dr. Kutcher has authored more than 300 scientific papers and authored/co-authored numerous medical textbooks.  For his outstanding dedication to the field, he has received many awards and honors locally, nationally and internationally, including: the Dr. John Savage Memorial Award for Outstanding Humanitarian Contributions to Global Health; the Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology Gold Medal; and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation.

His passion and advocacy for mental health, academic medicine and innovation has made, and will continue to make a substantial and positive impact on improving the lives of our youth, their families, and our communities both here in Nova Scotia and around the world.

Wanda Thomas Bernard

Dr. Wanda Elaine Thomas Bernard
C.M., O.N.S., PhD, RSW

East Preston

A well respected educator, scholar and social work practitioner, Wanda Thomas Bernard is a model of tolerance, understanding and compassion. As past Director of the School of Social Work at Dalhousie University, Dr. Thomas Bernard is highly regarded for addressing racial and cultural diversity in social work education and in the community.

Over the years, she has generously shared her expertise and knowledge of family and social development with local, provincial, national and international organizations. She is a founding member of the Association of Black Social Workers, an organization that has empowered the community at large to combat racism, sexism, and violence throughout all levels of society. Her tireless work has helped to foster links among academics, practitioners, and the community and has led to 45 publications, and over 200 local, national and international presentations.

Her long and distinguished career has always been focused on how to create positive change. She is a dedicated volunteer in her church and her community, and was previously involved with the Black United Front, The National Black Coalition, and numerous projects within the African Nova Scotian community. Her passion for social justice has led to her induction into the W.P. Oliver Wall of Fame at the Black Cultural Centre. She is a recipient of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Award, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and is a member of the Order of Canada.

Ruth Holmes Whitehead

Ruth Holmes Whitehead


Ms. Whitehead has distinguished herself as a world-class scholar, researcher, author, historian and mentor.  Over the past forty years, as staff ethnologist and assistant curator at the Nova Scotia Museum, she worked tirelessly to ensure the stories of our people, who may have remained invisible at the margins of our written histories, will never be forgotten.  

Ms. Whitehead has cultivated collaborative relationships with the Mi’kmaq of Eastern Canada and the Black Loyalists of Nova Scotia.  She is a humble and generous spirit, approaching her work in service to the highest good.  Her passion and drive has led the Nova Scotia Museum to host the most comprehensive collection of Mi’kmaw material and cultural artifacts in the world.  Her most recent book was the result of two decades of collaboration with the African-Nova Scotia community.  The research for Black Loyalists: Southern Settlers of Nova Scotia’s First Free Black Communities inspired the novel The Book of Negroes, the internationally acclaimed novel by Canadian author Lawrence Hill. 

She is a prolific author and has published over a dozen books, countless research papers and reports and is considered well-versed in Mi’kmaw and Maritimes Black Loyalist history.   She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Laws from St. Francis Xavier University.  Ms. Whitehead is a compassionate scholar and has made an outstanding contribution to the documentation and preservation of Nova Scotia’s culture and history.