Jane Nicholson, Founder and CEO, Annapolis Investments in Rural Opportunity (AIRO)

Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

2019 Governors' Award

Photo: Andrew Tolson

for her inspired leadership and “philanthropreneurism” to create a vibrant local economy that builds on heritage and other local assets in Annapolis Royal and beyond.

When Jane Nicholson immigrated to Halifax, Nova Scotia from England in 1956, she was fascinated by the arts of reclamation and transformation. It was this fascination that led her to found Mrs. Nicholson Inc. in 2003, a one-woman company with a goal of acquiring and restoring historic buildings in Annapolis Royal.

The business resulted in two award-winning projects: the restoration of the abandoned 1914 Annapolis Royal train station and the historical rehabilitation of the 1818 Ruggles-Munro House.

A community volunteer for over 50 years, Jane subsequently founded AIRO in 2016, a foundational “angel” investor and community development hub that works to promote and support entrepreneurial activity in Annapolis Royal and Annapolis County. Since its foundation, AIRO has funded dozens of requests for financial support, directly supporting more than 147 full-time, part-time, and seasonal jobs.

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