Vincent Coleman and Rita Joe to be commemorated on new Halifax Transit Ferries

Friday, June 2, 2017 (Halifax, NS) – The results have been tallied and, after more than 11,000 votes were cast over a ten day period this spring, Vincent Coleman and Rita Joe are the names residents have chosen for the next two passenger ferries in the Halifax Transit fleet.

In 1917, during the events of the Halifax Explosion, Vincent Coleman stayed behind to warn an inbound train about the impending explosion that would take his life. Regardless of how many people he saved, his actions speak to a level of heroism of which all Haligonians should be proud.

Rita Joe was born and spent her childhood on a Mi’kmaq reserve at Whycocomagh on Cape Breton Island. She is often referred to as the “poet laureate” of the Mi’kmaq people. She used her writing to teach others about her culture and people.  In 1978, her first book, The Poems of Rita Joe was published.

Hundreds of names were submitted in the spring of 2017, during the first phase of the ferry naming contest. The final five were selected from a short list by a committee comprised of Mayor Mike Savage and one member from each of the three community councils. In the final vote Vincent Coleman received over 5000 votes and Rita Joe received over 2000.

Halifax Transit will submit the vessel names, Vincent Coleman and Rita Joe, to Transport Canada for approval as the names for our newest two harbour ferries. The Vincent Coleman will be used to name the next replacement ferry that will arrive in fall 2017 and Rita Joe will be used on the next ferry expected to be delivered in summer 2018.

The two residents who submitted the winning names as part of the contest will each receive a Halifax Transit MetroPass valid for one year of free travel on conventional buses and ferries.

Previous ferry-naming contest winners were Viola Desmond (2016), Craig Blake (2015) and Christopher Stannix (2014).

The municipality would like to thank all residents who nominated and voted for the new name of the harbour ferry as part of this contest. More information on the contest is available online at

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