News release

New Country Harbour Ferry Officially Launches

The new provincial ferry from Port Bickerton to Isaacs Harbour, Guysborough County, officially launched today, November 13, as the Theodore O’Hara, named in honour of the first lighthouse keeper in Port Bickerton.

A contest to name the new Country Harbour ferry was held last spring at St. Mary’s Education Centre/Academy. The successful submission was Theodore O’Hara, from Grade 2 student Alivia Mansfield. Mr. O’Hara kept the lighthouse from 1901 to 1931.

“A hats-off to the teachers and staff at St. Mary’s Education Centre/Academy for the amazing job hosting this contest,” said Greg Morrow, Minister of Agriculture and MLA for Guysborough-Tracadie, on behalf of Public Works Minister Kim Masland. “They creatively incorporated a ferry theme into their curriculum that included history, math, engineering, careers and the importance of the ferry in our community. The Theodore O’Hara will provide a safe and reliable service to our residents and travellers for many years.”

Descendants of Mr. O’Hara were at today’s launch ceremony in Isaacs Harbour.

Quotes:

A tradition dating back thousands of years, the seafaring community believes the name of a new vessel has a great role in bringing good fortune and safety to the vessel, its crew and passengers. As descendants of Theodore O’Hara, we are honoured to have our grandfather and great-grandfather’s name chosen for this fine Nova Scotia-built vessel. Claude O’Hara, great-grandson of Theodore O’Hara

Providing shorter and reliable commutes to workers and emergency vehicles is paramount to the safety and prosperity of our communities. I am thrilled to see the legacy of Theodore O’Hara honoured in a way that provides a vital service in the region while creating jobs and enhancing public safety for decades to come. Mike Kelloway, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-Canso, on behalf of Dominic Leblanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

We are very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be part of this experience. The activity for our students was an inclusive way to incorporate the history of the Country Harbour ferry into the outcomes they are learning in each of their classes. The staff has really embraced the opportunity and have tailored a variety of their lessons and activities around this inspiring initiative. I am proud of our students here at St. Mary's Education Centre/Academy for their efforts and commitment as the new ferry will now have a familiar meaning for them in the future. It is such an essential link to our neighboring communities. Mike MacIsaac, Principal, St. Mary’s Education Centre/Academy

Quick Facts:

  • the Country Harbour ferry provides an important transportation link on the Eastern Shore, as a connection point for many workers in the area and shorter routes for emergency vehicles
  • the Theodore O’Hara replaced the Stormont II, a 41-year-old, 12-car cable ferry
  • the new 15-car cable ferry cost about $6 million, with both the federal and provincial governments each funding about $3 million
  • the new ferry will provide a reliable service for the next 35 to 40 years and have lower operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions

Additional Resources:

Nova Scotia provincial ferries: https://novascotia.ca/tran/hottopics/ferries.asp

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Media Contacts:

Deborah Bayer
Public Works Cell: 902-225-4982 Email:
Sonia Sabourin
Infrastructure Canada Cell: 343-549-8999 Email: