Janet F. Kitz
Doctor of Letters
Born in Scotland, Janet Kitz's academic qualifications include a Scottish Higher Leaving Certificate, earned while a student at Lanark Grammar School and a Teaching Certificate from Jordanhill College. Her early career was that of a teacher in Scotland, London, Switzerland, St. Margaret's and St. George's, Edinburgh. She also served as a British Red Cross Welfare Officer in Davos, Switzerland.
In 1971 she immigrated to Canada on her marriage to Leonard A. Kitz, Q.C., former Mayor of the City of Halifax. She soon immersed herself in the life of the city, serving as a Board Member on the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; the Women's Auxiliary of the Isaac Walton Killam Hospital for Children; and perhaps is best known for her deep commitment to the Point Pleasant Park Commission which she served as chair; and also as a member of the Halifax Explosion Memorial Bells Committee.
The latter was a logical outcome of her interest in Anthropology. She credits Dr. Harold McGee, Department of Anthropology at Saint Mary's University, with sparking her interest when she took a course from him in 1980. What followed was a long period of archival and academic research on the Halifax Explosion using documented boxes of mortuary artifacts which had been in storage since 1917. As a result of this detailed research and the collection of additional materials, she proceeded to interview and record information from those who had actually survived this explosion. It was not a huge step from that to using her background as a broadcaster to be directly involved with several explosion-related television programmes and videos. She also created slide presentations on the explosion for both school children and for adults and has given many talks and lectures based on various aspects of this Halifax Explosion.
In her research, she served with the late Edmund Morris and Dr. Colin Howell, Chairperson, Department of History and Executive Director of the Gorsebrook Research Institute, and others in developing a book of remembrance of the Halifax Explosion which is now on display at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. In this latter organization, she is a research associate and has been a consultant for two of their exhibits.
Several major awards have been presented to Janet Kitz in recognition of her outstanding work with both Point Pleasant Park and also the Halifax Explosion. These include being made a Fellow of the Nova Scotia Historical Society and a recipient of Canada 125 Medal. She is also a Paul Harris Fellow.
In addition to significant newspaper and magazine articles, she has published three books ? Shattered City (1989); Survivors, Children of the Halifax Explosion (1992); and most recently with Gary Castle, A History of Point Pleasant Park (1999).
She and her husband Leonard reside in Halifax.