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For centuries, Nova Scotia has been both base and battleground for rival navies. Empires seeking to control North America were drawn to Nova Scotia’s superb harbours and strategic North Atlantic location. From these vast and bloody imperial struggles, a Canadian navy would slowly evolve and in 1910, the Royal Canadian Navy was created. It would control Canada’s waters and play its role on the world’s oceans.

The Maritime Museum has put a new look on its Navy Gallery with many new images and artifacts which together tell a more complete Canadian naval history. Included is a very special object - the Victoria Cross awarded to William Hall, who was the first Black person, the first Nova Scotian, and first Canadian sailor to receive the Victoria Cross. The V.C. is the highest award for bravery in the British Empire, and one of the world’s rarest military medals.

Heritage Day 2024

Please note: The William Hall Victoria Cross will not be on display at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic from February 16th to February 19th, which is the Heritage Day holiday.

However, we are excited to announce that the medal will be a central part of the Heritage Day Event, a celebration of the life and legacy of William Hall, taking place at 11:00am at the Naval Museum of Halifax.

We apologize for any inconvenience this temporary removal may cause and encourage you to join us at the Naval Museum to celebrate this special occasion.  The William Hall Celebration will be livestreamed courtesy of the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia.