Explosion in Halifax Harbour


On the morning of December 6, 1917, the residents of Halifax's North End witnessed first-hand the terrifying destruction of the First World War.

A fully loaded munitions ship collided with a larger vessel — the resulting fire sparked the largest man-made explosion prior to the detonation of an atomic bomb in 1945.

In Explosion in Halifax Harbour, David B. Flemming gives a complete account of life in Halifax before, during and in the aftermath of this catastrophe. The historical images, along with present-day views, vividly recreate the scene on the water when the ships collided, and on the waterfront where people watched the fire.

In the hours after the explosion, survivors faced terrible hardships as the temperature dropped and a blizzard followed. Already stretched to the limit by wartime demands, doctors and nurses treated thousands of civilian victims. In the aftermath an official inquiry raised its own controversy, and Halifax slowly rebuilt its devastated North End.

About the Author

David B. Flemming

Posted by Dundurn Guest on May 28, 2019

David B. Flemming

David B. Flemming served for many years as an historian with Parks Canada in Ottawa and Halifax. He was also appointed curator of collections and later director of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic where he researched and curated an exhibit on the Explosion.