Community and curiosity
René Boudreau has always had a passion for exploration. With ancestral ties to East Preston, Africville and Shelburne, René spent her childhood in Truro, Nova Scotia, surrounded by friends and family. She attributes the support she received in her youth as her inspiration to explore her home province, gain new perspectives through travel and help break down barriers for Black travellers.
Inspired by community
Growing up in Truro, Boudreau spent her childhood closely connected to her community—whether it was piano lessons, Church on Sundays, various sports, or connecting with friends and family, community has always been at the heart of her focus. From a young age, she was curious about people, places and the stories that connect us all.
It wasn’t always easy—growing up in a predominately white town presented certain challenges. Boudreau and her siblings were encouraged by their parents to celebrate their Black heritage and observed how their community uplifted and looked out for each other. It's the lessons she learned at home, and her community that laid a foundation for representation and inclusivity in everything she does.
It’s these perspectives and experiences that inspired Boudreau to launch Elevate & Explore Black Nova Scotia Inc., opens a new window in 2019. Elevate & Explore Black Nova Scotia is an innovative travel community and business that encourages more Black travellers to visit Mi'kma'ki, Turtle Island (Nova Scotia, Canada), and encourages people from all backgrounds to explore the province.
"We seek to attract the Black community locally and abroad through Social Media by showcasing photos of Black people exploring the province. We also promote the inclusivity of Black presence in Nova Scotia as a reality to visitors who might not have known that there is indeed a Black community here that has existed here for over 400 years and remains vibrant today."
A new model for tourism: Elevate & Explore Black Nova Scotia Inc.
Under Boudreau’s leadership, Elevate & Explore Black Nova Scotia targets a new market of Nova Scotia travellers that have been historically underrepresented.
A few of the ways Elevate & Explore Black Nova Scotia attracts tourists is through creating customized tours, educational tools and experiences specific to African Nova Scotian and Black history and culture. Another important part of her business is promoting local businesses, both Black-owned and non-Black-owned across the province.
Elevate & Explore Black Nova Scotia is contributing to the powerful Black travel movement that has emerged over the past decade and Boudreau’s work has not gone unnoticed; she was named of Nova Scotia’s ambassadors for Nova Scotia Tourism Confidence Campaign: #ShineOnTourism, and highlighted in New York Times for her work sharing African Nova Scotian history and promoting inclusive tourism.
Watch Now: A Virtual Travel Series with Halifax Public Libraries
In January 2023, Elevate & Explore Black Nova Scotia is launching a Virtual Travel Series in partnership with Halifax Public Libraries. This innovative travel series will share stories that touch on the positive impact of travel for Black communities, self-reflection and discovery and getting the most out of travel experiences. Through meaningful conversations, Boudreau and her guests will share advice, recommendations and insights on how travelling has positively impacted their lives. Positive impacts include increased self-discovery and a greater appreciation for home, inspiring further contributions to their community.
The series includes four episodes, released in January, 2023. The videos will be shared here and YouTube.com/hfxpublib.
- January 16: Episode 1 with Nevell Provo: Travel & Sport
- January 24: Episode 2 with Jasmine Murphy: Travel & Career
- January 30: Episode 3 with Shekara Grant: Travel & Education
- February 6: Episode 4 with Musemo Handahu: Travel & Self-Discovery
Nova Scotia has a rich history and vibrant Black communities, making it an amazing travel destination. We hope you will tune in and explore all that Nova Scotia has to offer.
About African Heritage Month at Halifax Public Libraries
More than a month.
Every year in February and the months that follow, Halifax Public Libraries, in partnership with the Black History Month Association and countless dedicated individuals and groups, offers high-quality programs that highlight and celebrate the rich diversity, culture, and heritage of our African Nova Scotian community and people of African Descent.
The TD Ready Commitment, opens a new window is the generous presenting sponsor of African Heritage Month 2023 at Halifax Public Libraries. Their ongoing sponsorship—2023 marks 8 years of support!—increases our capacity to host important programs and conversations, and expand our collection, year-round.
Discover more stories, events, resources, and videos on our website at ahm.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca, opens a new window.