December 1, 2017
December 6, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, a maritime disaster that left 1,600 people dead, more than 9,000 injured, and the city of Halifax devastated. Over the last 100 years, the city has completely recovered and rebuilt from the disaster, but that doesn’t mean its presence isn’t still felt throughout the Halifax peninsula and beyond. To mark the centennial of this event that changed the course of the city, we’ve put together a Halifax Explosion map. This map highlights locations in Halifax and the surrounding areas where you can learn more about the cause of the explosion, the repercussions, and its continued legacy.
One of the most famous buildings in the city, Halifax City Hall is also a National Historic Site of Canada. It is home to a clock that is permanently set to 9:04 AM—the exact time the Halifax Explosion occurred 100 years ago. This clock can be viewed from Duke Street on the north face of Halifax City Hall.
Today, The Five Fishermen is a popular Halifax restaurant, but 100 years ago, it was home to Snow & Co. Undertakers. Snow & Co. buried many of the nearly 2,000 people who lost their lives in the Halifax Explosion. Many claim that some of these poor souls continue to haunt the building—which makes sense, since the food at The Five Fishermen is to die for.
The oldest building in Halifax, Saint Paul’s Church survived the explosion, but not without some damage. In fact, you can still see an iron spike that became embedded in the inner doorway of the church shortly after the explosion occurred, alongside a simple plaque that reads “A Relic of the Explosion.”
Saint Paul’s Church is also where—if you believe the stories—one unlucky deacon is said to have met his untimely end during the Halifax Explosion. According to legend, the unknown deacon was standing in front on a window when the explosion occurred, and the heat was so intense that it seared his profile into the windowpane. This profile is still visible today, though the veracity of this story is still up for heated debate.
The Museum of the Atlantic is home to a comprehensive exhibit on the Halifax Explosion titled Halifax Wrecked. This exhibit looks at the damage the explosion caused, while a special exhibit called Collision in the Narrows—on display until November 2018—builds on the story of Halifax Wrecked by exploring the impact the explosion had on survivors, as well as the world at large.
In Fairview Lawns, you’ll find two Halifax Explosion memorials. The first—donated by the New York and Pacific Steamship Company in 1920—is dedicated to the officers and crew of both ships who lost their lives on December 17, 1917. The second is a simple monument dedicated to the memory of the many unknown victims the explosion claimed.
The Halifax Explosion is among the most significant events to occur in the Maritimes, but it’s certainly not the only one. To learn more about the history of this unique part of the country, be sure to check out Explore the Maritimes today.
This bell tower in Fort Needham Park overlooks the area where the Halifax Explosion occurred. The monument honours those who died and were injured, and serves as a tribute to those who helped rebuild the city. The bells were donated by Barbara Orr—a Halifax Explosion survivor who lost both her parents, three brothers, and two sisters on that fateful day in 1917.
When the Mont-Blanc exploded in the Halifax Harbour 100 years ago, it was the biggest man-made explosion in history prior to the atomic bomb. In fact, the blast was so forceful that it sent the 1,200-pound cannon from the Mont-Blanc’s stern two miles over the harbour to Little Albro Lake (now Dartmouth), where it remains on display to this very day.
Not to be outdone by the cannon, the Mont-Blanc’s 1,140-pound anchor was sent over two and a half miles in the opposite direction, landing on the Edmonds Ground Estate near the head of the Northwest Arm. Today, the piece of this anchor remains along with a small memorial that can be found—by no coincidence—on Anchor Drive.