HALIFAX — Sombre ceremonies are being held today in Halifax to mark 100 years since the port city was devastated by a wartime blast that killed approximately 2,000 people and injured an estimated 9,000 others.
The catastrophe, known as the Halifax Explosion, remains the worst human-made disaster in Canadian history and was the largest artificial blast prior to the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima.
The explosion on Dec. 6, 1917 was caused by the collision between the French ship SS Mont-Blanc, which was laden with high explosives, and the Norwegian vessel SS Imo in the strait connecting the Halifax harbour with the Bedford Basin.
The city’s official Halifax Explosion commemoration ceremony will be held in Fort Needham Memorial Park, not far from the spot where the Mont-Blanc blew up, levelling much of the city’s north end and a Mi’kmaq village on the other side of the harbour.
Residents have also been asked to sign books of remembrance placed at Halifax City Hall and Halifax Central Library.
Other events include a public reception, author readings, a children’s play, a special ceremony for firefighters killed by the blast, and a series of commemorative concerts.
The Canadian Press