Tuesday, July 5, 2016 (Halifax, NS) – Halifax Transit is pleased to invite residents to attend the official launch ceremony being held later this week for its newest harbour ferry, named in honour of Viola Desmond.
Viola Desmond was a successful African Nova Scotian business woman from Halifax but became famous in New Glasgow, N.S. In November 1946, she purchased a ticket at a local movie theatre that practiced segregation and unknowingly sat in the Whites only section on the main floor. She preferred the vantage point from her seat and although she offered to pay extra for the main floor ticket, she was forcibly arrested and jailed overnight. The next day she was fined for defrauding the provincial government of a one cent tax. Her story highlighted the need to address segregation in Canada and raised awareness of the African Canadian situation locally, nationally and internationally.
Viola’s name was chosen earlier this year as part of a naming contest held in the fall 2015, which saw over 19,000 votes cast for five finalists selected from over 200 names nominated by residents for the new vessel.
The official unveiling event for the new Viola Desmond ferry will be held as follows:
When: Thursday, July 7, 10 to 11 a.m.
Where: Nathan Green Square, adjacent to Halifax Ferry Terminal
The ceremony will feature remarks from Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, Dave Reage, Director of Halifax Transit, Dr. Mayann Francis, and Viola’s sister, Wanda Robson.
The new ferry is one of three new vessels constructed over the past few years to replace aging infrastructure in the fleet, bringing more continuity and efficiency to Halifax Transit’s harbour ferry service. The Christopher Stannix vessel launched in 2014 was the first new ferry to be added to the fleet in over 20 years, and the Craig Blake went into service in the summer 2015.
It’s anticipated the Viola Desmond will go into service within the next few days, pending final completion of all required certification, testing and sea trials.
For more information on the Halifax Transit harbour ferry service, visit www.halifax.ca/transit/ferries.php.