F. Wayne Adams, C.M.
Doctor of Civil Law
Wayne Adams is credited with "amassing a tremendous life of combined service in both volunteering and professional careers. He is a life spirit, mostly self-made, filled with variety, woven with a high spirit of volunteerism to his fellow citizens covering some 40 years".
A Haligonian by birth, Wayne Adams became the first black person in the history of Nova Scotia to be elected to its Legislative Assembly and subsequently the first and only black Cabinet Minister to serve the Province of Nova Scotia. Elected in 1993 for the riding of "Preston" on a campaign message to stop the growth and future development of municipal dumps near low income families, he made a cleaner and safer environment his main platform plank. His vision was ultimately realized as he provided strong leadership and direction as Minister of the Environment with Nova Scotia experiencing its most sustained period of development of environmental growth since the creation of the Nova Scotia Department of Environment. He was the long-serving Minister of the Environment whose accomplishments included introducing of the first comprehensive Solid Waste Management Strategy in Canada as well as the newly-established Environmental Industries Sector. His legislative accomplishments also included the introduction of the Protected Spaces Act that preserved nearly 8,000 acres of environmentally significant land for the enjoyment of future generations. These initiatives have subsequently been copied by other provinces and indeed, countries around the world.
Undoubtedly one of the more interesting project in which he was engaged was to reactive a 200 year old Trade Agreement between Nova Scotia and the Caribbean as he led trade delegations of environmental industries to Port of Spain, Trinidad, and to Barbados. As a result, Nova Scotia companies reported significant capital benefits, exporting technology, equipment, and service trade exchanges. This Barbados connection was a natural one for Wayne Adams, whose family routes can be traced back to Sir Grantley Adams, founder of the government referred to as the British West Indies.
One could argue that Wayne Adams' political career really began in 1962 when he was elected to the Students' Council. Then in 1979 he was elected to the Municipal Council of the former Halifax County and subsequently was re-elected 5 times for a 15 year career in municipal politics, which included serving as Deputy Mayor (1982 to 1983).
Wayne Adams was a founding member of the Black cultural Society of Nova Scotia and later became the Executive Director of the Black Cultural Centre from 1990 to 1993. Today he is an honorary member.
He has also had a distinguished career in broadcasting, including national and local coverage of Canada's very first Summer Games, the Opening ceremonies for which were held at Saint Mary's University's Huskie Stadium in 1969. Currently, he conducts a Sunday Morning Gospel Hour on Community Radio, 94.7 FM, Eastern Passage and writes a weekly column for the Daily News.
He has served as a resource person on the topic of race, indifference, and racial equality to numerous schools throughout the Province as well as various service groups. Addressing some of the mass economic ills and unemployment problems in the Nova Scotia black community, he was also one of the driving forces behind the introduction of the American O.I.C. (Opportunities Industrialization Centres) programmed to the region. Using his O.I.C. experience, he was instrumental in the design and leadership which led to the creation of the "Preston Development Fund" which after two years evolved into the B.B.I. (Black Business Initiative) for Nova Scotia.
Always well known for his deep involvement in the life of his own community, his public service today is demonstrated primarily through his membership and activities in the East Preston Baptist Church, the area's Lions Club, and the Board of Trade. He also serves as an Elder in his Church and was formerly an Executive member of the Nova Scotia African Baptist Association as well as the Atlantic Baptist Convention. Not only is he a Director of the Halifax Citadel Amateur Boxing club but also a Fundraiser and past Chairperson of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children which honoured him with a Life Membership.
One of his close friends indicated "when we look at the many firsts in the life career of Wayne Adams, it is not just in politics or broadcasting where he rose to the top, he was also one of the first minority persons to rise like a star in the local automotive trade". In this area, he was the Manager of Nova Scotia's first indoor service station (at Scotia Square for Shell Canada); the first black owner/operator of a Shell service station in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia; and earlier in his career, while employed at a Halifax Chevrolet dealership, he became a Service Sales Manager as well as the region's first black New Car Salesman and later, the Used Car Manager.
In light of his outstanding career, it is not surprising that he has been the recipient of many awards and citations for community leadership. These include the Harry Jerome Award for Black Community Leadership; the prestigious "Outstanding Young Canadian" Award, and in 1976, the coveted B'nai B'rith Award for Human Rights in Canadian Broadcasting for which he was chosen over the late Barbara Frum. In January 2004, the Order of Canada was presented to him.
Aside from his busy professional careers, he is a devoted family man, an avid gardener with cooking, woodworking and writing skills being listed as his hobbies.