The Halifax Explosion


My purpose in developing this page is not to tell the story of the Halifax Explosion.  There are already sites out there that do a very good job of that and I have provided a list of links at the bottom of this page to websites that go into greater deal about the specifics of the tragedy. 

My purpose in developing this page is to explore links to our past by presenting some familiar sights of today and showing their significance in the context of the Halifax Explosion.

Chebucto Road School Mortuary


Construction of Chebucto Road School was completed and the school opened to students in 1910.  Seven years later, after the Halifax Explosion on December 6, 1917, the basement of the school was put into service as a mortuary for the unidentified dead.   On December 17th, 1917, 95 unidentified bodies were buried.   A funeral service was held at 3:30 pm that day; about 3000 people gathered to pay their respects.


Photo above courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, Halifax, NS

Photo of the same location (above) taken December 17, 2005.


Interestingly, I went out to take the picture above when I had a moment to spare.  It wasn't until I was putting this page together that I realized it was taken on December 17th, the same date as the 1917 picture.




Richmond Printing Company


The stones above are located at the perimeter of  the park at Fort Needham. The granite stones were taken from the Richmond Printing Company building, which was destroyed in the Halifax Explosion. The Richmond Printing Company was located on Campbell Road (now part of Barrington Street).

The photo above shows the Southeast corner of Campbell Road (later Barrington Street) and Young Street, Halifax, prior to 1917 explosion.  Next to the druggist's building, at the far right hand side of the photo, is the Richmond Printing Building from which the stones at Fort Needham originate.

Photo courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, Halifax, NS



Coffins supplied to Snow & Co., Undertakers, second building from right, for victims of the explosion - December 1917.

Photo above courtesy of Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, Halifax, NS

Photo of the same location (above) taken March 12, 2006.

How did the Halifax Explosion affect Rockhead prison - I came across the answer recently while doing some research.  The following is from the monthly reports of Rockhead Prison, for the month of December 1917:


To his Worship the Mayor,

Members of the Board of Control


City Council




I beg to submit the Report of the City Prison for Month Ending December 31st A.D. 1917 as follows.


There were ten males and three females in custody December 1st, 1917.


Two male prisoners were admitted up to Thursday the 6th of December, the day in which the City Prison was wrecked by the recent explosion.  I would report some of the prisoners were sent to the County Jail, some remained to finish their terms and four males escaped.  I would also report progress in temporary repair work at the prison.  





Links to Halifax Explosion Resources Online


Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management - Halifax Explosion 1917 Online Resources

Includes moving images (MPEG's) and a comprehensive Remembrance Book (list of those who died) 

CBC's Halifax Explosion Website


Another great resource, includes a great graphic timeline, lots of background information, information on the Imo and Mont Blanc and teacher's resources.

Halifax Regional Municipality's Halifax Explosion Website

A brief overview, pictures of monuments

A project of Prince Andrew High School Social Studies Department; includes pictures and transcripts of interviews with survivors of the Explosion

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic's Halifax Explosion website

Includes photos, a map, FAQs, links and reading list

From One Moment to the Next:
The Halifax Explosion
University of Virginia website.  Includes an overview of the events and pictures.