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1917: Halifax explosion, people take to Twitter to share stories


Staff writers
December 6, 2012 — On December 6, 1917, Halifax Harbour was destroyed when the French Ship “Mont Blanc” exploded. People are taking to Twitter to commemorate the 95th anniversary.


People in Halifax gather to remember. Photo courtesy: Megann Willson
People in Halifax gather to remember. Photo courtesy: Megann Willson

A large part of Halifax was destroyed 95 years ago today, when the “Mont Blanc” - a French ship carrying heavy wartime munitions such as TNT and guncotton - collided with the Norwegian ship the “Imo,” causing a massive explosion in Halifax Harbour. 

More than 2,000 people were killed and 9,000 were injured as a result of the explosion. 

Property damage was estimated to be in excess of $30 million.

Nearly every building within two square kilometres was destroyed - along with a significant number of structures in the neighbouring vicinity. 

The Imo was thrown ashore on the Dartmouth side of the Narrows by a huge tsunami that followed the blast, which was so powerful it caused windows to shatter as far away as Truro - more than 90 km from the accident site. 

A number of events are being held on both sides of Halifax Harbour Thursday to commemorate the 1917 explosion. Those planning on attending any ceremonies should bundle up as temperatures are only forecast to reach 0°C.

A view of the Halifax explosion 20 seconds after the accident occured
A view of the Halifax explosion 20 seconds after the accident occured

Taking to Twitter to remember 

The Nova Scotia Archives are also using Twitter as a way to mark the 95th anniversary. People are being asked to Tweet their family's stories from that day, which will be sent to the archives. 

"My Dad (b. 1905) heard the Halifax Explosion in Wolfville. His mom was on the train to Halifax within hours," tweeted David Patriquin from Nova Scotia early Thursday.

"Lawrence Osborne (age 5) was outside in Cow Bay. He was knocked to the ground and several windows were blown out of his house," read another Tweet from Heather Patterson.

The Tweets will be collected until the 100th anniversary and will be preserved for researchers and incorporated into the 2017 anniversary.

People can share their stories using the hashtag #hfxex1917.

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