But Hinds, who died this past weekend at 89, was far more than a staunch naturalist who wrote a long-running birding column in this newspaper.
The Liverpool, U.K.-born woman was a journalist of unflagging curiosity whose interests spanned everything from science and municipal affairs to Inuit art and heritage preservation.
Hinds was courageous enough to leave her job at The Chronicle Herald to canoe through the Canadian Arctic at a time when it was still largely an untravelled wilderness for southern Canadians — and to take up spelunking (caving) back in England and embark on solo birding expeditions in the backwoods of Nova Scotia.
Throughout her life, Hinds remained deeply committed to her adopted home via organizations like Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia and Friends of the Public Gardens and a wide range of other involvements.
“She was one of those engaged citizens that Halifax needs more of and doesn’t have enough of,” says Betsy Chambers, a former Herald colleague and longtime friend.
Hinds’ early life in the United Kingdom was equally memorable. A gifted student — she took voice lessons to rid herself of her Liverpudlian accent — her education was interrupted by the Second World War.
Stories differ on what actually brought her to Halifax. Once here, she landed a job at The Chronicle-Herald and Mail-Star and, though never having worked in journalism before, assiduously worked her way into the newsroom where she started out doing social news before moving into the other “hard news” sections of the paper.
“She was a great woman journalist when they were still rare,” recalls Chronicle Herald associate publisher Ian Thompson, whose desk was next to Hinds’ in the 1970s. “A dignified woman in a sometimes coarse environment.”
Elegantly coiffed with an innate sense of style, she cut quite a figure in the city’s journalistic circles, recalls Lyndon Watkins, who worked at The Chronicle-Herald during the same period.
It was as a reporter, though, where Hinds made her mark.
One of her most notable successes at The Chronicle-Herald was a series of articles that led to changes in ambulance services in Nova Scotia, including allowing medical personnel to provide services while transporting patients.
Later, her writing career entered a new phase when she joined Dalhousie University’s medical school as a public relations expert. There, with a salary donated by Graham Dennis, the late publisher of The Chronicle-Herald and Mail-Star, she wrote countless articles about medical research, taking on the challenge of making the field accessible to lay readers.
Hinds, whose Canadian fiance died in the Second World War, never married. Nor, friends say, did she ever slow down. In retirement she threw herself into a number of municipal causes, although she always remained politically unaligned.
She also kept adding to her collection of Inuit art that she eventually donated to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
Hinds died last Sunday after suffering a stroke days before. Details of her funeral will follow at a later date.