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Gwen Tuinman

Novelist Speaker Advocate

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Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia’s Bessie Hall: Mariner and Heroine

I’ve been reading Women at Sea in the Age of Sail by Donal Baird, a fascinating account of seafaring women from Canada’s east coast in the 1800s. For reasons I didn’t understand at the time, I was drawn to the book at a Halifax book store in 2018.

Gender roles of the Victorian era barred women’s aspirations taking to the sea for the purpose of being part of a ship’s working crew. None the less, a number of women in the 1800s travelled along with their husbands for some semblance of family life rather than be left behind to raise children alone. They often gave birth at sea without the care of doctor or midwife, suffered the lack of female companionship, and endured stormy weather and shipwrecks.

Continue reading “Nova Scotia’s Bessie Hall: Mariner and Heroine”

Viola Desmond: Harbinger of Change

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Viola Desmond was a Nova Scotian who refused to abide by segregated seating in a public space — nine years before Rosa Parks refused to sit at the back of the bus. During Black History Month, Canada celebrates her courage and reflects on her experience. Continue reading “Viola Desmond: Harbinger of Change”

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