Name Our Oval


Our city belongs to the people who live here – not to corporations and developers. Naming the Oval is an opportunity that could reflect and celebrate local history and the people who actually live here. If city council won’t do this, we’ll have to do it ourselves.

Winner Announced: The Halifax Common Oval

The Halifax Common Oval

More than just the name of the grassy land where the Oval sits, the notion of the common is increasingly important in a world where almost everything is seen as a commodity to be bought and sold. The Oval is accessible to everyone because it is publicly funded and operated – a common good we see fit to invest in. It shouldn’t be a zone for almost-free corporate advertising.

Mayor and HRM Council: Time to Rename Our Oval

Solidarity Halifax is pleased to announce the results of our Name Our Oval contest. The winning name, with 31.4% of the vote, is Halifax Common Oval.

“Solidarity Halifax wants to thank the hundreds of people who voted in the Name Our Oval contest,” says Brian Crouse, a member of Solidarity Halifax. “We will be writing to the Mayor and HRM Council with the results of the contest and to urge them to rename our oval after something that reflects the residents of this city and not a for-profit corporation.”

“Solidarity Halifax ran this contest to oppose corporate sponsorship of public facilities and call for the return of Nova Scotia Power to democratic, public ownership,” says Crouse.  “We will continue to highlight the unjust actions and PR gimmicks of this corporate bully, Emera/Nova Scotia Power.  Electricity should be run on a non-profit basis.”


Nomination Totals Percentage
K’jipuktuk Oval



Raymond Taavel Oval



Muriel Duckworth Oval



People’s Oval



Halifax Common



Viola Desmond Oval








In December 2011, without any public debate or discussion, Halifax Regional Council voted to let Emera, owners of Nova Scotia Power and one of the biggest corporate bullies in the province, name the Oval. True to form, Emera named the Oval after themselves.

The skating oval was built with millions of public dollars, but for a measly $50,000 a year, Emera gets to name the Oval for a decade.

Our city belongs to the people who live here – not to corporations and developers. Naming the Oval is an opportunity that could reflect and celebrate local history and the people who actually live here. If city council won’t do this, we’ll have to do it ourselves.

>>Why? What’s In A Name?
>>Contest Rules


Finalist Names

K’jipuktuk Oval

Pronounced “ge-jee-book-took”. Meaning “the great harbour.” The original name given by the Mi’kmaq to the common land where now resides the settlement of Halifax and on which rests the oval. While some locations in the city hold the English mutation of the name (Chebucto), reaffirming the original name in its Mi’kmaq spelling on public common land would be a positive acknowledgement of the original inhabitants and stewards of the land, and an important step toward a process of unlearning Euro-centric narratives about the history of this territory.

The Muriel Duckworth Oval

Muriel Duckworth (1908-2009), Halifax’s most prominent peace activist, called this city home for more than 60 years. She was a founder of the Nova Scotia Voice of Women and national president of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace; during her tenure the organization protested heavily against Canada’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Duckworth was the first woman in Halifax to run for the provincial legislature in 1974 and a founding member of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women. She was the recipient of the Order of Canada, the Governor General’s Award, the Pearson Medal for Peace, and 10 honorary university degrees.

In 2011, shortly after her death, her name was floated as a possible replacement for that of Cornwallis Jr. High School, when that school’s name was deemed unsuitable due to Cornwallis’s involvement in the attempted genocide of the Mi’kmaq. (The Halifax Regional School Board instead decided on the much blander “Halifax Central Junior High.)

The People’s Oval

Short and to the point. Whose Oval is it anyway? On average, HRM residents have paid and continue to pay more than 10 times as much as Emera to build and operate the Oval. More importantly, this name emphasizes how the facility belongs to all. (Note: name not intended to discriminate against any non-humans who may also enjoy skating.)

The Raymond Taavel Oval

Raymond Taavel (1963-2012). A queer leader and activist, his life was tragically cut short in a violent incident that had impacts felt across the province. Raymond’s dedication to the communities he was a part of was apparent from the remarkable commitments he made; he was the former Editor of and a frequent contributor to Wayves, past chair of Halifax Pride and was involved with Fair Vote Canada and the Shamballah Sun magazine.

Writing in Wayves after a previous attack outside of a gay bar, Raymond said “It’s tempting in this day and age of legislated liberties to think that a personal or collective vigilance is no longer required. It’s easy to lull ourselves into complacency, thinking there’s nothing more left to fight for, or nothing more to achieve. Fighting back comes in many forms: reaching out, building bridges, educating and, if need be, defending ourselves from physical harm”

Raymond’s death meant not only the loss of a community leader but spoke to the fear of violence many in the queer and trans community live with. His loss is still mourned in Halifax, just as his legacy of compassion and belief that a better world is possible is celebrated.

The Viola Desmond Oval

Viola Desmond (1914-1965). A committed family member and proprietor of a beauty parlour and college that served black communities across Nova Scotia, Viola Desmond’s act of defiance against racism should be an inspiration to us all.

In 1946, on a business trip to Cape Breton, she decided to stop in New Glasgow. After buying a ticket at the Roseland Theatre, she took a seat on the ground floor. The theatre had a racist segregation policy that required African Nova Scotians to sit in the balcony area. When asked to move, she refused. She was arrested, tried without counsel and convicted of tax evasion (there was a 1 cent difference in tax for tickets on the main floor versus the balcony). No mention of her race or the racist practices of the theatre was made in the trial.

She chose to fight the charge. While she lost her court case, she did highlight pervasive racism in Nova Scotia that our communities must still challenge today.

Name Our Oval


 Posted by at 12:11 pm

  8 Responses to “Name Our Oval”

  1. […] Halifax, NS – Halifax Regional Council should never have allowed the Oval to be named for Emera/Nova Scotia Power, one of the biggest corporate bullies in the province, says Solidarity Halifax, an anti-capitalist organization in the city. To challenge Council’s decision, Solidarity Halifax will be holding a contest to rename the Oval. Full contest details available at: […]

  2. […] The other is Solidarity Halifax‘s campaign to re-name the Halifax’s Oval. […]

  3. […] in Solidarity Halifax’s Name Our Oval Contest has also spurred some to question: why bother? Here’s […]

  4. […] >>And don’t forget to vote on a new name! […]

  5. […] […]