Government of Canada honours national historic significance of Rose Fortune

News release

July 20, 2019                    Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia                    Parks Canada Agency

Rose Fortune’s life and accomplishments represent the struggle of Black Loyalists, including the unique challenges facing Black Loyalist women, in colonial Nova Scotia during the 18th century.

Today, Colin Fraser, Member of Parliament for West Nova recognized the national historic significance of Rose Fortune. A special ceremony was held at the wharf in Annapolis Royal to unveil a commemorative plaque in partnership with The Historical Association of Annapolis Royal and the town of Annapolis Royal. The announcement was made on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna.

Historic designations, like that of Rose Fortune, reflect the rich and varied history of Canada and provide an opportunity for Canadians to connect with our diverse heritage. As a respected and prominent member and businesswoman in the community in Annapolis Royal, Fortune was known for keeping peace and order on the waterfront, where she operated a successful baggage-carting business and acted as the unofficial town “police officer,” for over 20 years. She became a figure of renown both locally and throughout Nova Scotia and she has been remembered with great affection by residents of Annapolis Royal. Since the early 20th century, Fortune’s story has become a source of ongoing pride for African Nova Scotians.

The Government of Canada, through the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, recognizes significant people, places, and events that shaped our country as one way of helping Canadians and youth connect with their past. The commemoration process is largely driven by public nominations. To date, more than 2,150 designations have been made. 


“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am pleased to recognize the national historic significance of Rose Fortune. Rose Fortune was one of Annapolis Royal’s most iconic figures. Her legacy in Nova Scotia and the African-Canadian community represents the endurance of Black Loyalists, who confronted prejudice and inequality to make a place for themselves in Canada. Historic designations reflect Canada’s rich and varied history and I encourage all Canadians to learn more about Rose Fortune and her important contributions to Canada’s heritage.”

Colin Fraser,
Member of Parliament for West Nova

Quick facts

  • Rose Fortune was born into slavery in the British colonies (that became the United States) and her family were part of the more than 3,000 Black Loyalists who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1783-84. They earned their freedom and were resettled because of their support of the British during the American Revolution.

  • Established in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change on the historic importance of persons, places and events that have shaped Canada’s history. 

  • The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada is celebrating its centennial year in 2019. National historic designations are of profound importance as they illustrate our country's defining moments. Each of these designations contributes its own unique story to the greater story of Canada and helps us better understand our country and our identity. 

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Danielle Hickey
Communications Officer
Mainland Nova Scotia Field Unit
Parks Canada Agency

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency

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