Legacy Logo The Legacy
• Memories Honoured - Lessons Learned

Though the morning of December 6th, 1917 brought disaster to the cities of Halifax and Dartmouth, the legacy reads as a story of reconstruction, compassion, and a determination to rise above adversity, and rebuild the city, to rebuild lives.

While the Explosion marked the end of certain aspects of life in Halifax it also meant new begginings in others. The North Street train station was rebuilt and placed in its current location next to the Westin Hotel in South End Halifax, not far from the new seawall Piers. Pier 21 is now famous for the part it played as an international gateway for the thousands of immigrants and war brides who walked through its doors from late WW1 to the 1960’s. It remains a major research center and tourist stop for the cruise ships which frequent Halifax.

In the aftermath of the Explosion thousands were left homeless, as a response new housing developments were built. What is now known as the Hydrostone area was built by British urban planner Thomas Adams in North End Halifax. The Hydrostone acted as a small community within a larger community, with its own stores, bakeries, and other family run shops. The Hydrostone is a prized location in Halifax.

Not only did the Halifax Explosion allow for new developments in Halifax, it also gave way for medical advancements in pediatrics, and most notably optics. While the Explosion left only a few completely blind, there were numerous eye injuries due to the flying glass. Many advances were made in triage, emergency medicine, pediatrics, delivery of services and rehabilitation. This work is currently researched and taught at Dalhousie and Harvard medical schools.

As a consequence of the The Explosion a legacy of music, movies, TV documentaries ,art, novels, and research has been developed. Many authors have dedicated large portions of their working lives to recounting, reassessing and retelling the personal stories to keep the memory and the history of the Halifax Explosion alive. Thanks to these dedicated people, information on the Halifax Explosion is freely and readily available to the public. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic has a display on the Explosion, giving information to tourists as well as locals interested in the morning of December 6th, and its aftermath. Much of this display was made possible with the support and knowledge of Janet Kitz, a Scottish born Halifax Historian.

In 2003 the CBC released ‘Shattered City’, a made for TV movie retelling some of the basic story of the Halifax Explosion. Several more documentaries have been made on the Explosion, and brief recaps can be seen on "Canada’s Heritage Moments".

In the days following the explosion, Halifax was overwhelmed with the amount of relief that was given almost immediately. Many countries sent doctors, nurses, money, supplies, and household items. Most notably, Boston, Mass.(which had a well organized EMO) sent up trainloads of aid and brand new furniture which still sits in many households .On Sunday December 16th, the Boston Symphony held a special concert featuring world famous violinist Franz Kreisler. Over $500,000.00 (in today’s $) was raised. Each year we recognize out special relationship with the people of Boston with the gift of a large Christmas tree.

Though the explosion was a terrible dark moment for the city, the response of the numerous towns, cities and countries who offered relief is an inspiring story of compassion, human generosity, and the willingness of many to work together to help repair a “Shattered City”, from which modern Halifax has emerged. December 6th, 1917, a defining moment in the history and rebirth of Halifax.

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