Order of Nova Scotia


Phil Comeau, ONS

Phil Comeau, CM, ONB, ONS
Saulnierville et Moncton

Promoteur acclamé des arts et de la culture acadienne, Phil Comeau est un réalisateur, producteur et scénariste qui a réalisé plus d’une centaine de productions. Par ses films documentaires et dramatiques, il a contribué à la vitalité moderne de l’Acadie en Nouvelle-Écosse.

Le dévouement de M. Comeau à la perservation et à la mise en valeur de la culture et du patrimoine acadien s’est étendu au-delà de la Nouvelle-Écosse aux communautés francophones du monde entier. Sa capacité à exprimer l'âme et l'essence de l'identité acadienne a contribué à mettre en valeur la contribution acadienne à la culture canadienne dans le sens le plus large.

Créateur du premier long métrage acadien et de la première comédie acadienne, Comeau est reconnu pour ses nombreuses contributions et son rôle en tant qu'innovateur articulé et conteur d’histoires.

Reconnu pour ses compétences aiguisées et sa capacité à raconter des histoires captivantes qui résonnent avec le public, Comeau présente des personnages qui émeuvent les téléspectateurs et démontre un talent rare pour simplifier des évènements historiques complexes. Grâce à son travail avec les membres de la communauté et les experts dans divers domaines pour assurer l’exactitude des faits, Comeau fait preuve de respect et d'engagement, tout en dégageant un talent d’une créativité rare.

En tant que récipiendaire de plus de prix cinématographiques que tout autre réalisateur canadien, il a également fait partie de nombreux juries de festivals de films au Canada et à l’étranger.

Dévoué à sa profession, Comeau a généreusement donné de son temps au Front de réalisateurs indépendants du Canada et la Guilde canadienne des réalisateurs.

An acclaimed promoter of Acadian arts and culture, Phil Comeau is a film director, producer and screenwriter who has overseen more than a hundred productions. He has contributed to the modern vitality of Acadie in Nova Scotia through his documentary and drama films.

Comeau’s dedication to the preservation and enhancement of Acadian culture and heritage has reached beyond Nova Scotia to French speaking communities around the globe. His ability to articulate the soul and being of the Acadian identity has helped to showcase the Acadian contribution to Canadian culture in the broadest sense.

The creator of the first Acadian feature film and the first Acadian comedy, Comeau is renowned for his wide-ranging contributions and role as an articulate innovator and story teller.

Known for his well-honed skills and ability to tell captivating stories that resonate with audiences, Comeau presents characters that move viewers and demonstrates a rare talent for simplifying complex historical events. Through his work with community members and experts in various fields to ensure accuracy, Comeau is respectful and engaged, while exuding a rare creative talent and ability.

As the recipient of more film awards than any other Canadian director, he has also been part of numerous juries at film festivals in Canada and overseas.

Dedicated to his profession, he has generously given of his time to the Front de réalisateurs indépendants du Canada and the Directors Guild of Canada.

Dr Jacqueline Gahagan, ONS

Dr Jacqueline Gahagan, ONS

As a health equity researcher with over twenty-five years of experience at post-secondary institutions in the fields of health care, health policy development, child welfare, women in sport and HIV and AIDS research, Dr. Gahagan’s contributions have benefited the people of Nova Scotia immensely.

Their longstanding program of health promotion research has focussed on addressing health inequities facing diverse and oftentimes marginalized populations. Gahagan’s contributions have advanced health equality and been instrumental in the realization of improved outcomes for several marginalized populations across Nova Scotia and Canada.

Since the late 1980s, Gahagan has been dedicated to HIV and AIDS advocacy and health equality research. As a longstanding member appointed to the Federal Ministerial Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, and as a promoter for the advancement of health equity in sexual and reproductive health, they have made tangible contributions to marginalized populations with broader population health and social justice policies.

A member of the LGTBQ2S+ community, Gahagan has actively volunteered with a variety of community-based and health organizations to advance sex and gender science such as prideHealth, the Youth Project, the Nova Scotia LGBT Seniors Archive, and the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Centre, among others.

Gahagan’s strategic leadership and courage in the field of applied health promotion research has been demonstrated through their published research, the co-founding of the Atlantic Interdisciplinary Research Network and as an Associate Editor for the Canadian Journal of Public Health. They have been an inspiration to many colleagues, and student trainees, and have made significant contributions to the body of knowledge in their field.

Bruce Guthro, ONS

Bruce Guthro, ONS (posthumous)
Sydney Mines

From the modest beginnings of performing in small halls and pubs around the Maritimes, to performing before thousands at Royal Albert Hall in London, and major venues across Europe, Bruce Guthro was a Canadian musical icon.

Best known in Europe as the lead singer for the Scottish band “Runrig,” his enthusiasm for creating strong connections between regional and international audiences and artists did much to enhance the careers of countless musicians. His underlying goal: always lift up other artists while creating beautiful music.

As the Founder of the program “Songwriters Circle,” which developed into an award-winning CBC Television broadcast, Guthro built the show from a few songwriters exchanging songs to a full professional production.

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Guthro launched “The Circle Continues,” an online version of the “Songwriter’s Circle.” Here he gathered sponsors and assembled a team of professionals, giving a valuable lifeline to musicians deeply impacted by the Pandemic, and provided uplifting musical entertainment to thousands during a period of significant isolation.

A keen believer in philanthropy, Guthro worked with organized charity events for the QEII Foundation, IWK Children’s Hospital and St. Martha’s Hospital.

Throughout his life, Guthro’s professionalism, leadership and love for his Cape Breton roots played an integral role in upholding the culture and musical traditions of the Province. He did much to enrich the music and songs of Nova Scotia both in Canada and across the globe.

Professor Sylvia Hamilton, ONS

Professor Sylvia D. Hamilton, ONS

For more than four decades, Sylvia D. Hamilton has given her life’s work to uncovering stories of the struggles and accomplishments of African Canadians, and introducing these to mainstream audiences by producing, writing and directing documentary films, giving public lectures, writing essays and poetry, and creating multimedia art installations.  

Hamilton began her career as a radio journalist and later moved into the cultural and educational sectors. She held senior positions with the federal government after which she went on to co-found the New Initiatives in Film program (NIF) at the NFB's Women's Studio D. This program provided Indigenous women and women of colour with opportunities to make films about their experiences in their own voices.

Black Mother Black Daughter (1989), signalled her emergence as a significant Canadian filmmaker. This film and her body of work broke new ground in reframing Canadians’ awareness and conceptions of Canadian history and ensures the place of African-Nova Scotian history in the story of Canada and Canadians.

A passionate volunteer, she has served on numerous local and national boards and committees, including the Black Loyalist Heritage Society, the National Congress of Black Women, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Indigenous Blacks & Mi'kmaq (IB&M) Initiative at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University.

She held professorships at Mount Saint Vincent University and the University of King's College, where she contributed to the fields of education, equity and culture, supporting members of historically marginalized communities to pursue higher education as a means of strengthening their presence and prominence in academia, the media and arts.

Stephen Kimber, ONS

Stephen Kimber, ONS 

As the author of two novels and eleven non-fiction works, Stephen Kimber is a distinguished writer, journalist and educator.

In the academic realm, he served as Professor of Journalism for more than thirty years, during which time he was a multi-term Director of the School of Journalism at the University of King’s College. In 2013, he founded the King’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction program, and he is now its Fiction Cohort Director.

Kimber has tirelessly given back to his community, university, and profession by teaching and mentoring generations of journalists. He played a part in training reporters, educators, politicians, and businesspeople. Kimber’s accomplishments included serving as general editor of several government reports on a diverse range of topics from the economic future of Nova Scotia to the Royal Commission on the Wrongful Conviction of Donald Marshall, Jr.

His writing has appeared in almost every major English-Canadian publication, and he has helped ensure a strong Nova Scotian voice in the national press.

In addition to his prodigious output, Kimber’s service to the creative community has been outstanding. Through his involvement in numerous organizations, such as the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia, the Writers’ Union of Canada, and others, he has given much to his profession. 

Over five decades, Kimber’s contributions to the life and people of the Province through literature, journalism and academia have done much to enrich the lives of Nova Scotians.