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Coronavirus: 103rd memorial service for the Halifax Explosion cancelled

A crowd of several hundred gathered at the Halifax Explosion Memorial Bell Tower on Fort Needham in Halifax on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016.
A crowd of several hundred gathered at the Halifax Explosion Memorial Bell Tower on Fort Needham in Halifax on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

This year’s anniversary of the Halifax Explosion will be much more subdued and quiet as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Halifax Regional Municipality has announced that the in-person memorial scheduled for Sunday marking the 103rd anniversary of the tragedy has been cancelled.

Read more: Uncovering of cathedral’s spectacular murals reveals Halifax’s tragic past

There will be no large gatherings and no memorial as a result of the ongoing pandemic and related provincial restrictions on large gatherings.

Instead, Mayor Mike Savage will make an address to Haligonians at 9 a.m. on all of the municipality’s social media channels.

On Dec. 6, 1917, the cargo ships SS Imo and SS Mont Blanc collided in the Halifax Harbour, starting a fire on Mont Blanc.

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Click to play video: 'Woman who was 10-days-old when Halifax Explosion occured passes away' Woman who was 10-days-old when Halifax Explosion occured passes away
Woman who was 10-days-old when Halifax Explosion occured passes away – Dec 6, 2019

Mont Blanc was full of explosives and as it burned, it drifted until it crunched against the dock at Richmond Street.

It detonated with one-sixth the destructive force of the early atomic bombs and was the world’s largest artificial blast until an atomic bomb was detonated in 1945.

Read more: Halifax Explosion survivor laid to rest on 102nd anniversary of the blast

The explosion was so powerful the shaft of the Mont Blanc anchor was hurled over three kilometres from ground zero, landing on Spinnaker Drive in Halifax, where it’s been preserved ever since.

The wartime blast resulted in approximately 2,000 deaths while an estimated 9,000 people were wounded, 200 were blinded and 25,000 were left homeless.

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