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Newest ferry naming survey attracting more votes

More than 12,000 votes cast so far to name new harbour ferry

4 min read
caption The newest ferry will be the last of three to replace aging units in a fleet of five
Haley MacLean
The newest ferry will be the last of three to replace aging units in a fleet of five
caption The newest ferry will be the last of three to replace aging units in a fleet of five
Haley MacLean

The Halifax Regional Municipality and Halifax Transit invited residents to cast their vote for the name of the third and final new harbour ferry on Feb. 1, and not even halfway to the Feb. 15 deadline the poll has almost received more input than the previous two.

So far the newest survey has received more than 12,000 votes, after just six days of a two-week polling period.

Past surveys

In summer 2014, Halifax Transit announced it would be replacing three aging harbour ferries out of a fleet of five. They allowed the public to cast their vote for the names from a list of selected recommendations originally provided by residents. This would be the first time a ferry would be replaced in more than 25 years.

The first ferry was voted to be named Christopher Stannix, honouring the solider from Cole Harbour who was killed in Afghanistan in 2007 while serving for the Canadian Armed Forces. This survey received a total of almost 13,000 votes.

The second was named after Craig Blake, a member of an elite navy group who was based at the Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic in Halifax, and was the first Canadian soldier to be killed in Afghanistan in the line of duty. This survey received more than 11,000 votes.

Tiffany Chase, senior communications advisor for HRM public affairs, says it’s not surprising that military members are a popular choice for the ferry memorials.

“We are a Canadian Forces town here. We always receive a number of recommendations for former military members,” said Chase. “It can be a great way to remember their service.”

Newest ferry choices

The list of names choices for the third ferry include:

  • Private John Curwin: served in the Royal Canadian Regiment, 2nd Battalion of the Canadian Forces in the International Security Assistance Force and was killed in 2008 during his service in Afghanistan
  • Vincent Coleman: during the moments before the Halifax Explosion he stayed behind to warn a train of the incoming blast, which in turn took his own life
  • Viola Desmond: a businesswoman who was detained when she refused to move from a ‘whites only’ section of a movie theatre in New Glasgow in 1946. Her story helped address the need to discuss segregation and African Canadian rights in Canada
  • Major Gavin Rainnie: a member of the Royal Canadian Artillery who was killed during his service on D-Day on June 6, 1944, at Juno Beach
  • Ron Wallace: a member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly from 1970-1978, and Halifax’s longest serving mayor from 1980-1991. Wallace passed away in 2008

A voter’s perspective

Halifax resident Jessica Goreham said she cast her vote earlier this week for Vincent Coleman. Her choice stemmed from feeling that Coleman’s story was appropriate for a memorial on a ferry itself.

“He tried so hard to save them from (the harbour explosion),” said Goreham. “And the thought that maybe now he could take us back and forth over the harbour safely is very poetic.”

Goreham hadn’t participated in the previous two votes, but feels the increase in involvement from this one might stem from the HRM’s increasing use of social media.

“Better communication, better social media and more people are sharing this information,”  said Goreham. “Every time they name something and do a survey, more and more people will become engaged.”


Heritage Minutes

On Feb. 2, Historica Canada released its newest video in their Heritage Minutes series telling Viola Desmond’s story.


It is the 82nd heritage minute in a series that also includes Vincent Coleman’s story, which is one of the most popular entries.

Summer launch

Voters have until Feb. 15 before the survey closes, with the winning name being placed on the side of the ferry at an unveiling in the summer before the ferry joins the fleet.

The resident who submitted the winning name will receive a one-year transit pass from the municipality and Halifax Transit.


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