The five were invested into the Order of Nova Scotia at a ceremony Wednesday at Government House in Halifax.
The recipients on hand for the ceremony were: mineral expert Eldon Thomas George; philanthropist Fred George; heart surgeon Cecil Edwin Kinley and peace educator Hetty Margaretha van Gurp of Sydney.
Cape Breton singer Raylene Rankin, who died of cancer in September 2012, was given the award posthumously.
Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant was joined at the ceremony by Premier Stephen McNeil.
The recipients were selected by an advisory council from 100 nominations.