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The disaster that reshaped a city

100 years after the Halifax Explosion, the city retains traces of its pre-war life

  • Dec 06, 2017
  • 109 words
  • 1 minutes
Halifax Harbour after explosion of December 6, 1917 Expand Image

There’s a cracked anchor shaft mounted next to Spinnaker Drive in Halifax, southwest of the city’s ports. At half a tonne, the giant piece of shrapnel testifies to the sheer destructive power of the Halifax Explosion of Dec. 6, 1917. When the French munitions vessel SS Mont-Blanc was blown to smithereens 15 minutes after colliding with the Norwegian cargo ship SS Imo, the French ship’s anchor snapped and was rocketed four kilometres from Halifax Harbour, slamming into estate grounds near its current resting place. 

Halifax explosion blast radius
The map above depicts the impact zones of the Halifax Explosion in concentric circles; however, the actual shock wave would have been impacted by a variety of geographical factors and would not likely have expanded in perfect rings. The zones shown here are based on anecdotal evidence following the explosion. (Map: Chris Brackley/Canadian Geographic)
Expand Image
Map of Halifax Explosion superimposed on current city map Expand Image
Map showing the extent of the impact and destruction caused by the Halifax Explosion of Dec. 6, 1917. (Map: Chris Brackley/Canadian Geographic)

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