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Ceremony held to mark the 101st anniversary of the Halifax Explosion (5 photos)

A memorial service was held Thursday morning at Fort Needham Park, commemorating the many lives lost

It's been 101 years since the Mont-Blanc collided with the Imo in the Halifax Harbour, sparking a massive explosion that levelled most of city's north end.

A memorial service was held Thursday morning at Fort Needham Park, commemorating the many lives lost.

Mayor Mike Savage spoke the ceremony, reflecting on the selfless act of Vincent Coleman that day.

The train dispatcher stayed at his post to send a message to an incoming train on the morning of December 6, 1917, warning them that a munitions ship was on fire in the harbour.

According to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Passenger Train No. 10 was carrying around 300 people and was scheduled to pass along the approach tracks right in front of the blazing Mont-Blanc.

At 9:05 am, Mont-Blanc exploded. Coleman was one of approximately 2,000 people who died as a result of the blast.

"That act of heroism stands in the history of Halifax, and Nova Scotia, and in Canada, as an act of remarkable bravery by a man who did not wake up that morning expecting to be a hero," Savage said to the crowd. 

Wayne Rhyno was on hand for the memorial service and said his mother was about 18-months old when the explosion occurred.

"She was in the crib and there was a window over the crib," Rhyno explained. "Minutes before the explosion, my great-grandmother came in and took her out into the kitchen."

"After the explosion they went back into her bedroom and the window had come in. Spears of glass were in the crib, so she was saved by minutes."

The ceremony included a moment of silence at 9:04 a.m. -- the exact time of the explosion.


Chris Halef

About the Author: Chris Halef

Chris is a reporter for and NEWS 95.7. In 2018, he won the RTDNA Dave Rogers Award for best short feature.
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