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Cora de Jong Greenaway

Doctor of Fine Arts

Saint Mary's University conferred Cora de Jong Greenaway an honorary doctorate of fine arts in appreciation for her outstanding contribution to the cultural life of Canadians and in recognition of her activity during World War II.

Greenaway's studies as an arts student in Europe were interrupted by the German invasion of the Netherlands. She and a number of her fellow students became active in the Resistance and undertook a number of particularly hazardous assignments. The cost was high, she is one of the few survivors of that group as most of them were executed by the Germans, others simply disappeared.

In 1949, Greenaway and her husband, Major William Greenaway, a much-decorated airman came to Nova Scotia where she immediately became interested in the art forms of her new home. She discovered the now famous Croscup Room and fought for its preservation for 20 years. Finally, it was bought by the National Gallery and moved to Ottawa to undergo restoration where it is now considered a national treasure.

In 1959, Greenaway led the formation of the first Heritage Trust in Canada. She sustained it financially by the sale of books to which she had contributed research. Her campaign to focus attention on the importance of heritage led to the creation of provincial heritage portfolios and the formation of Heritage Canada in 1973.

Greenaway's other heritage contributions have included saving Halifax's Historic Properties from demolition, the promotion of artist Maud Lewis and preservation of Ross Farm. Her lectures in many countries through the International Committee of Sites and Monuments brought important recognition to Nova Scotia and to her collection of historical interior decorations. As the much loved and respected Dr. Helen Creighton said, She sees beauty others pass by. Mrs. Greenaway has been recognized with an appointment as a Member of the Order of Canada and the Cultural Life Award of Nova Scotia.