Heritage Day

Post prepared by Brenna Williamson

Are you a proud Nova Scotian looking to learn more about your local history? Maybe you’re newly arrived in the province and keen to learn more about your new home? Either way this is the post for you!

This week the province celebrates Nova Scotia Heritage Day. A holiday since February 2015, this day serves as an annual reminder of the province’s unique history. Each year one notable person, place, or event is selected for commemoration on this day. Previous honourees include Viola Desmond, Africville, and Joseph Howe. This year’s nominee is Edward Francis Arab.

Edward Arab was born Sept. 6th 1915 in Halifax. He is the grandson of some of the first Lebanese immigrants who came to Halifax in the 1800s. He attended Dalhousie University Law School, and was one of the law school’s youngest graduates,  As a practising lawyer, Arab was known for fighting against prejudice and racism.  

Arab enlisted in the Canadian Army in 1942. As a lieutenant, he fought in the Netherlands and was killed in action there on October 25th,1944 in the Battle of the Scheldt Estuary. He was 29 years old. His grave is in the Bergen-Op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery in the Netherlands. A virtual memorial for Arab was recently created by Veterans Affairs Canada. In 1949 he was commemorated by his hometown of Halifax, and a street, Edward Arab Ave, was named after him.

Before the war, Arab was very involved in the local Lebanese community. He was one of the co-founders, and first president of, the Canadian Lebanon Society of Halifax in 1938. The society seeks to support “the emerging needs of our growing Lebanese community.” Today, the society runs a Lebanese Heritage Language School (founded in 1979), and events such as an annual blood drive, as well as supporting other local Lebanese organizations. With this historical support, the present day Lebanese community in Halifax is flourishing, including an annual summertime Halifax Lebanese Festival.

Further Reading…

For more information on Lebanese immigration in Canada, and the community in Nova Scotia, check out the following books from the StFX Library:

Titles courteously provided by knowledgeable StFX librarian Susan Cameron.

For more information on Lt. Edward F. Arab, Nova Scotia Heritage Day and the Canadian Lebanon Society of Halifax, check out the following links:

Additional Sources

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