The Ferry Naming Contest is over and the name Viola Desmond will adorn the new ferry!
The Viola Desmond, was officially launched, July 7 at 10 a.m. at Nathan Green Square. Dave Reage, Director for Halifax Transit; Mayor Mike Savage; The Honourable Dr. Mayann Francis and Wanda Robson, Viola Desmond's sister, spoke at the event.
An incredible 19,238 votes were received over the course of the two-week naming contest, with Viola Desmond receiving just under a third (6692) of the total votes cast. Her name was one of five short-listed in addition to Vincent Coleman, Private John Curwin, Major Gavin Rainnie and Ronald Wallace.
Viola Desmond was born and raised in Halifax. She trained as a teacher but then joined her husband in the operation of a combined barbershop and beauty parlour on Gottingen Street. She became famous in New Glasgow, NS, in 1946 when she unknowingly sat in the Whites only section of a movie theatre that practiced segregation. She was not permitted to stay, and was detained overnight although she offered to pay the extra required to sit in this section. Her story highlighted the need to address segregation in Canada and raised awareness of the African Canadian situation nationally and internationally.
Ferry Naming Contest 2016 Results
Vincent Coleman 5088
Private John Curwin 5051
Viola Desmond 6692
Major Gavin Rainnie 478
Ronald Wallace 1929
This is the final of three new vessels that will replace aging infrastructure in the fleet of five harbour ferries – bringing more continuity and efficiency to Halifax Transit’s ferry services. June 2014 marked the first new vessel to be added to the Halifax Transit ferry fleet in more than 25 years. Residents voted to name the ferry “Christopher Stannix” in honour of a young soldier from Cole Harbour who was killed in 2007 while serving with the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan.
The second replacement ferry received in 2015 was named “Craig Blake”, to memorialize Petty Officer Second Class Craig Blake, who was the first Canadian sailor to be killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan. He was part of an elite navy group that specializes in neutralizing bombs – underwater and on land – based at the Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic in Halifax.