One of the most memorable events in Eastern Canada was the largest man made explosion in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The morning of December 6th, 1917 at 9:30am the explosion happened, followed with a tsunami.
In the Halifax harbor, the S.S. lmo (a Norwegain vessel) collided with the S.S. Mont-Blanc ( a French cargo ship loaded with major explosives). The event destroyed Halifax and Dartmouth, along with homes, buildings, families and so much more.
As the explosion travelled more than 1,000 metres with temperatures of 500 degrees celsius, it damage anything in it’s path. Destroying 1,630 homes along with damaging another 12,000 homes, along with offices, buildings, schools, etc. Due to the pressures of the explosion, the south and west ends of halifax experienced shock waves that shattered windows from 100km away, along with knocked them right to the ground. With the temperatures as high as they were, the North ends of Halifax and Dartmouth were burnt to the ground with nothing left. If the houses were not already destroyed, they most likely were once the tsunami that followed.
This tsunami flooded parts of Dartmouth which resulted in a huge mess with the stray boards from homes floating around. There were schools completely gone, along with fire departments, hospitals and most other structured places. In life, you can only be so fortunate when it comes to events like this. As hard as it is for homes to be lost requiring personal belongings, it is even harder to lose lives. Almost 1,600 deaths instantly when the explosion happened but within the following days, 400 deaths occurred because of servery injury. On top of the deaths, over 9,000 people were injured due to the fire, explosion, shock waves or flooding. Every family would have been affected, whether it was your parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, sibling or yourself, every family was bothered by it. When the explosion began, it started with a fire aboard another ship.
The children walking to school that morning saw it or the people in the offices working could have saw it or even just being home you could have saw it. The majority of people decided to watch out windows. When the S.S.
Mont-Blanc ship exploded, the pressure shattered the windows all around the city. The people looking out of them were directly in the path of the shattering glass flying out of the sides of their houses. Approximately 5,900 people reported having eye injuries while 41 people permanently lost their vision. No reported specific numbers of deaths were caused by this. With all of the homes destroyed in the fire and explosion, there wasn’t many places to stay.
In total, over 6,000 people were left homeless. With 25,000 people and families spent their days and nights in shelters with not nearly enough space or food. With no family homes to stay at, some had no choice but to stay with people outside of the area until the city got built back up. During the time, not everyone was looked at the same. No matter if you had a mental disability or if you were a different color. At this time, there were a lot conflict with black people.
Halifax was still a home to a lot of black people and this affected the limit of places for them to stay, food for them to eat and a bed for them to sleep in. If the shelter did take them in, they had the bare minimum of everything they needed. This took an insane tole on colored people due to the color of their skin. At this time, Halifax did not have an enormous amount of money so the loss of everything in the city was a problem. The estimated costs from back then was $30 million compared to nowadays where this cost would be nearly $569 million. This is not including the billing for shelters or their food in the shelters.
This was strictly the structures destroyed. With the amount of damage done, Halifax could not do it on their own. There was money coming from as far as China and New Zealand. The city raised almost $30 million from fundraisers. They got $18 million from the federal government with just over $4 million from the British government. The state of massachusetts gave them $750,000. With all of this help, it started them on building the city we now have. The people located in Halifax lost their homes and buildings they were familiar with.
This effected many things. Once they got the situation figured out about shelters and the hospitals they were going to use ( the N.S.
hospital which still stands on 300 pine st. in Dartmouth.) they went through a lot of ups and downs throughout this entire experiences but this allowed them to rebuild.
The Halifax that we go to probably would not look the way it does if it wasn’t for what happened on December 6th, 1917.