Freda Wales Award – Deirdre Evans

by Cross Country Nova Scotia Staff, September 18, 2020

Distinguished Award to Evans

Cross Country Nova Scotia is pleased to announce Halifax Nordic Ski Club’s Deirdre Evans as the recipient of our 2020 Freda Wales Memorial Award, which is presented to a woman who has made a significant contribution to cross-country skiing in Nova Scotia. A province-wide call for nominations is conducted annually in March for this award, and the CCNS board of directors votes to designate the recipient.

Deirdre has served on the board of Halifax Nordic Ski Club for several years. She has been instrumental in creating and distributing the club’s weekly newsletter, a long-standing tradition, that keeps members and the surrounding community informed of various events, opportunities, and successes of the club. She has transformed Halifax Nordic’s social media presence attracting many new members and getting the word out about cross-country skiing in HRM. Deirdre is passionate about encouraging new Canadians and elementary school children to give skiing a try. She was the lead coordinator for a “try-it skiing” event, in coordination with the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS), which brought 60 new Canadians out to try skiing. Additionally, approximately 130 elementary students in HRM took part in “try-it skiing” events that Deirdre organized.

Creating Opportunities for Others

Deirdre creates opportunities for people to try skiing, providing participants with a new means to enjoy the snow and cold – potentially for a lifetime. Connecting people to cross-country ski resources in our province is vital to our sport’s growth and importantly, makes a difference in the lives of many within our communities.

“Try-it skiing” events are about more than acquiring technical skills. They’re about connecting with people, creating new memories on snow, and finding the courage to try something new. Contemplating their value from a broader perspective, these events provide a sense of purpose, and foster a lifelong love for the sport – for skiers and instructors alike.

Halifax Nordic’s experienced instructors answered Deirdre’s call to volunteer during the “try it skiing” event for new Canadians. Derek Estabrook, 10 year veteran instructor reported, “Today was the most fun I have had in my decade of teaching XC skiing. I have never seen so many smiles and so much laughing at the Brunello Bowl. An amazing day!”

We’re proud of all our athletes and volunteers demonstrating excellence in our sport. Take a peek at our historic recipients.

Cross Country Nova Scotia extends a sincere thank-you to Deirdre Evans for her efforts to positively impact the lives of many through the sport of cross-country skiing, along with her love for Canadian winters.


“Try-it skiing” session for new Canadians, coordinated by Deirdre, attracted 60 participants on February 23, 2020. Deirdre worked in coordination with ISANS.

Video – Deirdre enjoying night skiing at The Links at Brunello (click to view).

History – Freda Wales Memorial Award

The Freda Wales Memorial Award was established by Cross Country Nova Scotia in 1993, to honour a lifetime of dedicated service to humankind along with an incredible commitment to advancing sport and outdoor pursuits. Freda was inducted, as a builder, to both the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame.

Freda was renowned for her unobtrusive manner, passion for the outdoors, and persuasive ability to bring people together. “She was in charge of Outdoor Education for the Halifax District School Board for several years and thus was able to influence many young people as to the benefits of sports and being outside,” advised Dianne Powell, who describes Freda as a “wonderful, solid friend”.

…she organized ski meets and was directly involved with approaching landowners to convince them to allow cross-country trails across their property.


Freda not only inspired and educated young people on the benefit of sports and outdoor activities – she initiated the governance of sport by helping to found five sports organizations in Nova Scotia, including the “Atlantic Division – Canadian Amateur Ski Association”, from which the current governing body for cross-country skiing in Nova Scotia evolved.

Further Reading – Freda Wales

Freda Wales is one of our province’s foremost sports and recreation builders. Links to further reading are provided below.

· Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum | Freda Wales Profile

· Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum | Freda Wales Biography

· Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame | Freda Wales Profile

· Nova Scotia Archives | Freda Wales Fonds

· Saltwire Network | Related Article, Early Photo, Freda Wales

Freda developed a love for skiing in her home province of Quebec. When she moved to Nova Scotia in 1947, the sport had few followers and virtually no facilities to support it. In her unobtrusive way, Freda set out to introduce the sport to the province. (Source: Canadian Ski Hall of Fame, Photo: Saltwire Network)

Freda was born in Montreal. She attended McGill University and received a degree in physical education. Amongst Freda’s professional endeavours, she was the head of outdoor education (HRSB), and taught at Mount Saint Vincent University where she was one of the first in our province to incorporate orienteering into her program.

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