Trailblazer and champion for the arts
Gloria Borden grew up as one of 18 children in New Glasglow, Nova Scotia. From a young age, Borden grew to cherish music, community, sports and boxing. After years of success as a student-athlete, Borden would leave New Glasgow for Halifax.
In 1958, she joined the staff at the Victoria General Hospital as an assistant lab technologist, a position she held while she raised two sons. She would become the first Black hematology specialist in Canada. During this time, she researched a series of tests related to lymphomas that could be used as indicators on patients in or out of remission. Under the direction of Dr. O.A. Hayne, she would go on to have an abstract article published in the New England Journal of Medicine 1987.
With a successful career in healthcare, Borden also dedicated time to the sport she grew up loving, boxing. In 1970, she founded the Halifax Recreational Amateur Boxing Club. In 1971, Borden became the first female boxing promoter in Canada. She would go on to manage and help train 150 amateur boxers, four of which went on to participate in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. While she was a successful boxing promoter, it was Borden’s time as a student-athlete in New Glasgow that led to her induction into the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame.
Borden also excelled as a music producer. In 1989, she produced the acclaimed God’s Trombones. She founded the internationally-known Nova Scotia Mass Choir in 1991. Borden produced the first international gospel festival in North America in 1992. She went on to be the founder and President of the Kangee Production Society and the Managing Director of the Jongleur Intensive Performing Arts Academy, the Jeri Brown Touring Youth Choir and the Jeri Brown Theatre Company. She was also a board member for the Charles Taylor Hall Society in 2010.
Borden is currently looking forward to the next project she plans to produce: a play telling the story of Black Nova Scotia from 1783 to 2010.