Halifax Explosion
100 years 100 stories


100 years have passed since the Halifax Explosion happened and we are asking everyone to take a moment to remember.

Many engaging and thoughtful commemorative events will take place, including the annual morning ceremony at the Memorial Bell Tower in Fort Needham Memorial Park on Wednesday, December 6, 2017.

Those interested in viewing the memorial ceremony online can access live-streams via CBC Nova Scotia and CTV Atlantic News beginning at 8:25 AM.

For information about interpretive experiences, visit our experiences listing.


100th Anniversary Halifax Explosion Memorial Service

Date: December 6, 2017

Time: 8:45 am

Location: Fort Needham Memorial Park, 3340 Union Street, Halifax

Admission: Free

The Municipality’s 100th Anniversary of the Halifax Explosion official commemoration ceremony will be held directly across the harbour at the recently reconstructed Fort Needham Memorial Park which overlooks the former neighbourhood of Richmond – an area virtually flattened by the explosion. The event will be on December 6, 2017 at 8:45 am.

The 100th Anniversary Memorial Service will follow the annual event program with additional guest speakers and special guests. Music will be provided by the Royal Canadian Navy Stadacona Band and the event will take place in the new Memorial Plaza in the Park.

The municipality has commissioned an original poem of commemoration by the Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke who will read aloud excerpts of this special work. At 9:04 am the audience will recognize survivors with a moment of silence. Invited delegates will then be asked to participate in the official laying of the wreaths. Proceeding the official wreath laying, members of the public and relevant organizations with special ties to Anniversary are invited to lay wreaths in commemoration. The Anniversary service will be live streamed for those persons unable to attend in person.

After the ceremony, residents are invited to attend a Reception at St. Joseph’s-Alexander McKay Elementary School, 5389 Russell Street, Halifax.

During the day of December 6, a 100th Anniversary Book of Remembrance will be available for the public to sign at the following locations throughout the day:

  • St. Joseph’s-Alexander McKay Elementary School: 9:45 am - 11:00 am
  • Alderney Gate Library, Dartmouth: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
  • Halifax City Hall: 12:00 pm - 4:30 pm
  • Halifax Central Library: 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Admission to this event is free. Learn more at HRM’s website.


Explosion Newsie with Author Jackie Halsey

Date: Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Time: 10:30 am

Location: Alderney Gate Library, 60 Alderney Dr., Dartmouth

Admission: FREE; appropriate for Grades 3-6; School classes must book ahead.

Jacqueline Halsey was born in London, England. After several globetrotting years, she and her family discovered Nova Scotia and have lived here ever since.  She attended the West Sussex College of Art in England and as a mature student, graduated with honours from Mount Saint Vincent University. Before becoming a full-time writer, Jackie worked as a children’s programmer in the Youth Services department of Alderney Gate Library.  She has written five books. Her latest book Explosion Newsie is a picture book about a newspaper boy and the Halifax Explosion.

For more information or to make a class booking call Alison Creech at 902-490-5876.


Halifax Fallen Firefighters Monument

Date: Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Time: 10:30 am

Location: Station #4, 5830 Duffus Street, Halifax

Halifax Fallen Firefighters Ceremony honours the nine members of our Fire Service that died while fighting the fire on the Mont Blanc - the blaze that caused the Halifax Explosion. Th eceremony will include the laying of wreaths by family members, and a parade of uniformed members, Flag Party, Honour Guard and Pipe and Drums. All members of HRFE are strongly encouraged to take the time to attend. Members of the public and family are also welcome.

Parking is available at the Halifax Forum with transportation provided to and from the Station#4 by Metro Transit. Busses will be departing at 9:15 and 9:30. Uniformed members participating in the marching parade are asked to meet at the forming-up point (Hillside Ave, Agricola St) at 9:30 am.

A reception will be held immediately following the ceremony at Station 4.


Halifax Explosion 100th Anniversary Reception

Date: Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Time: 11:30 am – 2 pm

Location: Dartmouth Heritage Museum, Evergreen House, 26 Newcastle Street, Dartmouth

Admission: FREE

The Dartmouth Heritage Museum is hosting a reception on December 6 at Evergreen House, following the Dartmouth Historical Association’s annual memorial service for the Dartmouth victims of the Halifax Explosion at Mont-Blanc Cannon Park.

Visit our popular exhibit, Explosion! Dartmouth’s Ordeal of the 1917 Disaster and enjoy some light refreshments. All are welcome.

Visit the museum’s website to learn more.


Memorial Mass for the 100th Anniversary of the Halifax Explosion

Date: Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Time: 12:15 pm

Location: Saint Mary's Cathedral Basilica in Halifax

This is a Mass of Remembrance for all those who lost their lives in Halifax Explosion. All are welcome.


Unveiling of a Commemorative Monument

Date: December 6, 2017

Time: 1:00 pm

Location: Fairview Lawn Cemetery, 3720 Windsor Street, Halifax

Commemorative markers will be placed in Fairview Lawn Cemetery and on the Isle of Barra, Scotland, to recognize five crew members from the remote island in the Hebrides who were killed in the Halifax Explosion. The men were working aboard the S.S. Curaca at Pier 8 when the ship was struck by the blast. Next of kin were notified by the Halifax Relief Commission, but had to wait weeks until someone visiting the island could translate the letters and finally inform them of the tragic event.

The Friends of Barra Society (Craidean Do Bharraidh) organized this unveiling, which will include a performance of an original song dedicated to the sailors. Parking is available at the Chisholm Avenue entrance. 


The Halifax Explosion: 100th Anniversary 

Date: Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Time: 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm

Location: Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, 1675 Lower Water St., Halifax

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, the Maritime Museum will present two special events that are open to all members of the public.

Hope and Survival: The Halifax Explosion Memorial Quilt (1:00 pm)

Artist and Portia White Prize winner Laurie Swim conceived Hope and Survival: The Halifax Explosion Memorial Quilt in 2000 as a monumental community art project. It features images in fabric based on witness accounts of the event and its aftermath and was completed in 2017. The accompanying Scroll of Remembrance lists the names in English and in Braille of 1,946 people identified among the perished. The Braille dots were beaded with the assistance of some 400 volunteers. Hope and Survival honors the lives lost, lives instantly and dramatically changed, and the heroic efforts made to assist and restore hope. It acknowledges a legacy of survival that continues to this day.

The Halifax Explosion in Story and Song with David Stone (2:00 pm)

To mark the 100th anniversary of the event that forever changed Halifax, we are pleased to welcome singer-songwriter David Stone as he tells the story of the Explosion through a cycle of songs, that he wrote based on his research into the disaster and his conversations with survivors and their families. David will be joined by a stellar list of guest artists, who will be sharing their talents to mark the 100th anniversary of the disaster, including Tony Mombourquette, our own stalwart shipkeeper aboard CSS Acadia, Steve Read and the dynamic duo of Margo Carruthers and Jay Perry.

For more information, visit the Maritime Museum's website.


Newspaper Structures: Rebuilding Halifax

Date: Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Time: 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Location: Sackville Library, 636 Sackville Drive, Lower Sackville

Admission: FREE, Registration required. Appropriate for Ages 5 to 9.

A hundred years ago, the Halifax Explosion took the lives of thousands and destroyed many buildings in Halifax. Join us on the hundredth anniversary of the explosion to hear a storybook about the event, "Explosion Newsie" by Jacqueline Halsey. Afterwards, we'll construct buildings out of newspaper.

Call 902-865-3744 to register. Learn more at: halifaxpubliclibraries.ca


Halifax Explosion Remembrance with George Elliott Clarke and Symphony Nova Scotia

Date: Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Time: 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Location: Halifax Central Library, 5440 Spring Garden Road, Halifax

Admission: FREE

Gather as a community to commemorate the tragic events and lives lost in the Halifax Explosion that took place 100 years ago. The evening will feature Parliamentary Poet Laureate, George Elliott Clarke, and Symphony Nova Scotia performing against a backdrop of images from December 1917.

Participants will have an opportunity to reflect and add a personal tribute to the City’s Centenary Book of Remembrance.

With support from the Halifax Regional Municipality. Learn more at: halifaxpubliclibraries.ca


St. Marks Anglican Church Commemorative Concert

Date: December 6, 2017

Time: 7:00 pm

Location: St. Mark’s Church, 5522 Russell Street, Halifax

Constructed in 1866 at the intersection of Barrington and Russell Street, St Marks’s Anglican Church was destroyed in the Halifax Explosion. Despite extensive loss of life among its congregation, those who survived assisted relief efforts in temporary first aid and feeding stations. The Halifax Explosion Commemorative Concert and Memorial Garden project pays tribute to survivors of the disaster and enhancements to the church grounds will represent a permanent memorial.

Learn more on the church’s website or contact the event organizer.


St. Paul’s Halifax Explosion 100th Anniversary Concert - “The Lost Memorial”

Date: Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Time: 7:00 pm

Location: St. Paul’s Anglican Church  

Admission: Free

St. Paul’s church was one of the few Halifax churches to fully withstand the Halifax explosion, and records suggest it may have been the only church able to organize a service the next day. While the specific events of that service are a mystery - it was surely a somber affair -  with church pews surrounded by coffins - with more than 300 church families dead, displaced or injured - and with the church hall transformed into a makeshift hospital and relief station.

In the “Lost Memorial”, we re-create what words might have been spoken in this tragic setting. What songs would have been sung? What might the church have looked like? Most important - where did the people of Halifax even begin to look for hope? Featuring: David Christensen, Karis Tees (and the St. Paul’s Junior Choir), El Jones, Ben Stone, Ian Bent (St. Paul’s Musician in Residence), the St. Paul’s Senior Choir, and other special guests.

Email the organizer for more information.


Author Allison Lawlor with Broken Pieces: An Orphan of the Halifax Explosion

Date: Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Time: 7:00 pm

Location: Keshen Goodman Library, 330 Lacewood Drive, Halifax

Admission: FREE

One hundred years ago, on December 6, 1917, the French munitions ship Mont Blanc collided with the Belgian relief vessel Imo in the Halifax Harbour. Amid the confusion and devastation that followed the blast was fourteen-year-old Barbara Orr, who had been walking from her neighbourhood in Richmond to a friend's house.

Follow Barbara as she navigates post-explosion Halifax, learning about rescue efforts, the kindness of strangers, and the bravery of heroes like Vincent Coleman along the way.

Learn more at: halifaxpubliclibraries.ca


"The Halifax Explosion: 100 Years Later" - Documentary

To commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, Ocean Entertainment - a Halifax TV production company - will hold screenings of its new documentary about the tragedy. 


Scotiabank Theatre Bayers Lake

Wednesday, December 6, at 7:00 pm

This event is free of charge to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the explosion. Come early to get a good seat.The trailer can be seen here: http://ocean.ca


Saint Mark's Anglican Church (5522 Russell St, Halifax)

Wednesday, December 6, at 7:00 pm

This event is free of charge. There will also be performances by the North Street Singers and local schoolchildren. For more information, visit the event Facebook page


CBC Television

Wednesday, December, at 7:00 pm

Throughout the Maritimes, CBC Television will air "The Halifax Explosion: 100 Years Later".  Check local listings.


From the Ashes - A Choral Remembrance of the Halifax Explosion

Date: Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Time: 8:00 pm

Location: St. Matthew’s United Church, 1479 Barrington St, Halifax

On December 6, 1917, St. Matthew's United Church joined many other institutions in Halifax to serve as an emergency refuge for the wounded and a work station for the desperate relief efforts.

To recognize this special connection in our history, St. Matthew's will present a commemorative concert featuring archival photographs and readings, serving as the poignant backdrop to a choral performance of "The Halifax Explosion" (world premiere) written by Lunenburg composer Mary Knickle, as well as "Requiem" by Gabriel Faure.

Featured are the 48-member St. Matthew's Chorale, Chamber Orchestra, Jennifer Farrell, soprano and Jon-Paul Decosse, baritone.

Advance tickets are available at www.eventbrite.ca or by calling 902-429-1680.


City’s Saviours: The Military Response to the Halifax Explosion with Col. John Boileau (Ret’d)

Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Time: 7:30 pm

Location:  Nova Scotia Archives, 6016 University Avenue, Halifax

Admission: Free

The large number of Canadian, British and American soldiers, sailors and nursing sisters who were in the city at the time of the Halifax Explosion immediately came to the city’s rescue. Among other actions, their response saved lives, prevented further destruction and stopped looting—in short, they prevented the disaster from becoming greater than it was.

This talk is presented by the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society. Visit the Society's website for more information


At This Hour Poster

At This Hour: The Deposition of Harbour Pilot Francis Mackey

Date: December 16 and 17, 2017

Time: 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm

Location: The Halifax Provincial Court – 5250 Spring Garden Rd.

On December 6, 1917, in the narrows of Halifax Harbour, the Belgian Relief vessel IMO collided with an overloaded French munitions ship, Mont-Blanc. The resulting massive explosion wreaked havoc on both sides of the harbour and left at least 2000 people dead.

Within hours Ottawa ordered a full investigation. Despite chaos in the city the Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry began the following week at the Halifax Provincial Court on Spring Garden Road.

Using excerpts from the inquiry’s transcripts, At This Hour offers a personal account of what happened that terrible morning through the words of Francis Mackey, the pilot on board Mont-Blanc.

Tickets are now on sale now and can be purchased at www.tickethalifax.com. For more information, visit the Zuppa Theatre website or the Zuppa Facebook event page.


Second Chances Community Band

Date: May 27, 2018

Location: Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax

Composer and conductor Robert Buckley of Vancouver has been commissioned to compose an original work that will be accessible to amateur players in both high school and community level concert bands. The piece, entitled "Echoes of the Silent - Remembering the Halifax Explosion of 1917", will be premiered at the Halifax Community Band Festival on May 27th, 2018.

This Festival is an annual event hosted by the Second Chances Community Band and welcomes community band musicians from all over Atlantic Canada to perform together each year in Halifax. Mr. Buckley will be in attendance as a guest conductor and will lead the assembled musicians in his work's premiere public performance. High school band programs in the province will also be notified of the piece and invited to co-perform the score with the Second Chances Community Band.

For more information, visit the Second Chances Community Band website.