Brigadoon’s Founder and Visionary to receive Order of Nova Scotia

The Province announced on Friday, November 1st that Brigadoon Village’s Founder and Visionary, Dave McKeage, will be receiving the Order of Nova Scotia posthumously. The Order of Nova Scotia is the highest honour of the Province of Nova Scotia recognizing Nova Scotians for outstanding contributions or achievements. The 2019 recipients will be recognized at the 18th investiture ceremony on November 26th, at Province House.

“We can’t imagine a more deserving person than Dave to receive this honour,” says David Graham, Executive Director of Brigadoon Village. “Being inducted into the Order of Nova Scotia is a huge acknowledgement of the impact he had on our province. Those who have been inducted into the Order of Nova Scotia are an accomplished group – which only a few are a part of, and we’re just thrilled that the work Dave did to create Brigadoon is being recognized.”

During his life, Dave was diagnosed with cancer four times. His experience with this disease and the character and resilience it developed in him, shaped his dream of building a place where children living with health conditions and other life challenges could experience the joy of camp, the comradery of others with similar experiences, and a changed perspective on themselves. A place where these extraordinary children could experience the transformational change of being ordinary.

In 2001, Dave began to tell others of his dream, in 2008 the Building Brigadoon Campaign began, and in 2011 Brigadoon opened its doors and welcomed its first 38 campers with Crohn’s and Colitis to its Guts & Glory program. Since then, the impact of Brigadoon has gone beyond what anyone ever dreamed possible. In 2018, Brigadoon Village became the largest pediatric illness camp program in Canada, and this summer they welcomed 782 campers into 14 programs.

Dave demonstrated his quintessential Nova Scotia values by holding tight to dreams and their pursuit, despite great adversity and an unwavering commitment to serving others, while making Nova Scotia a better place.

“Dave’s vision has created a place where children are transformed,” says Graham. “At Brigadoon, they are given a sense of their true potential, and where they realize they are not defined by a diagnosis. Our province will be impacted by Dave McKeage for generations as these children harness this empowerment given to them at Brigadoon and go on to change the world.”

Though we lost Dave in December, it was his humility and profound gratitude combined with his endless optimism and resilience that are the lasting legacy for all who had the privilege of knowing him. He has inspired thousands of Nova Scotians, and in particular, extraordinary young Nova Scotians who live with chronic illness in demonstrating that no dream is too big, no obstacle too great, no person too insignificant, and no child unable.

Known for never being afraid to dream big, Dave always saw the potential for Brigadoon to “do more” and improve to meet its fullest potential. We continue to move Dave’s vision of Brigadoon forward. Announced in August, an arts and music centre will be built at Brigadoon called Dave’s Place to commemorate him at the Village in a way that captures his love for music and the arts.

We are incredibly proud of our friend and colleague Dave McKeage, for all that he did for Nova Scotia, Brigadoon, and all of us who had the privilege of knowing him.

To see the full list of recipients, please visit the Province’s announcement here.