Nova Scotia Archives

Halifax and Its People / 1749-1999

Collapsed buildings of Nova Scotia Car Works on Clifton Street near St. Albans Street, Halifax, with Bloomfield School in background at right, 11 February 1918

On 6 December 1917, the Norwegian vessel SS Imo, carrying Belgian Relief supplies, and the French freighter SS Mont Blanc, carrying munitions, collided in Halifax Harbour – thereby creating what was then considered to be the worst man-made disaster in the world’s history. A few seconds before 9:05 a.m., the Mont Blanc, with a cargo of 2,500 tons of high explosives and a deck load of monochlorobenzene, blew up, shattering the 3000-ton vessel and spewing destruction over 325 acres. The Explosion killed more than 1600 people instantly and injured over nine thousand others, in a metropolitan population of 65,000. More Nova Scotians died in the Explosion than were killed in World War I, and the catastrophe resulted in over $35,000,000 property damage.

Photographer: Gauvin & Gentzel

Date: 11 February 1918

Reference: Charles Vaughan (copied through the courtesy of Mrs. Shirley Vaughan) Nova Scotia Archives    / negative: N-7035

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