Nova Scotia

Metro Transit ferry names criticized for lack of diversity

A contest to choose the name of Metro Transit's new ferry between Halifax and Dartmouth has turned up five finalists, but some are upset about the lack of diversity in the choices.

Shortlist of five names floated for citizens to vote

Metro Transit is looking to name a new ferry for its crossings between Halifax and Dartmouth. ((CBC))

A contest to choose the name of Metro Transit's new ferry between Halifax and Dartmouth has turned up five finalists, but some are upset about the lack of diversity in the choices.

The Halifax Regional Municipality released these fives names, narrowed down from more than 1,200 suggestions from the public:

  • Daniel Brownlow
  • Chebucto
  • Vincent Coleman
  • Robery Keddy
  • Christopher Stannix

The initial suggestions were whittled down to 20 by Metro Transit and staff at the Halifax Regional Municipality. Those 20 names were then given to Mayor Mike Savage and councillors Steve Craig, Waye Mason and Gloria McCluskey, who created the list of finalists.

McCluskey told CBC Radio's Mainstreet she was surprised when she learned the choices had already been narrowed down.

"Nobody expressed any concern but me. I didn't like the way it went down because I thought if you're on a committee, you're more involved then somebody giving you 20 names out of 1,200," she said Thursday.

"I think they're all good names. I didn't see anything wrong with the names. But my problem is, there were so many more names."

Allison Sparling said she wasn't satisfied with her options.

"What a lost opportunity to tell another type of story," she told CBC News.

"It's time to maybe look at some of the other contributions that women, that African Nova Scotians, that the aboriginal community even the Portuguese community — there are so many different cultures in Nova Scotia."

Allison Sparling says she was disappointed with the choices for a new ferry name. (CBC)

Sparling submitted Wendy Lill's name — a playwright and former New Democrat MP for Dartmouth. She said others suggested lawyer and political activist Rocky Jones, and businesswoman Viola Desmond.

"For Wendy Lill, heroism was going to work every day even though she was experiencing symptoms of multiple sclerosis for three years before she had to step down," said Sparling.

"If they're not going to do enough to preserve the true essence of the really amazing culture that exists in Nova Scotia, then people are just going to keep feeling like Nova Scotia is constantly being whitewashed."

Janet Bryson, a spokeswoman for the Halifax Regional Municipality, said the full list of 1,200 submissions will be released after a winner is announced in December.

"They also took into consideration the number of times people submitted a particular name," she said Thursday.

"I think that'll be really clear when people see those names as to perhaps why the selection committee went with the five choices they did."


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