Statement by Prime Minister Trudeau on the 100th Anniversary of the Halifax Explosion
December 6, 2017
Today, we mark the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion.
On December 6th, 1917, two ships collided in the narrows of the Halifax Harbour, one of them a munitions ship bound for the battlefields of the First World War. The explosion that followed levelled the north end of Halifax and changed the city forever. It was the largest human-made explosion before the atomic bomb and remains one of the deadliest disasters in Canadian history. Nearly 2,000 people were killed in the blast, including hundreds of children. Thousands more were gravely injured and half the city’s population was left without shelter.
The tragedy devastated Halifax, but Nova Scotians responded with courage and heroism, like Vincent Coleman, the railway dispatcher who gave his life to warn incoming trains of the danger. Communities across the province also offered relief and support, and help poured in beyond our borders, from Massachusetts to Australia.
Halifax was shattered, but its spirit stayed intact, held up by friends and neighbours who came together and lifted by Nova Scotians who recovered, rebuilt, and emerged stronger than before.
A hundred years later, their courage and compassion lives on in the city of Halifax.
Today, we honour them, and hold their memories close.