Halifax, Nova Scotia
A harbour town on the east coast of Nova Scotia, Canada
, whose maritime heritage includes a couple of particularly dark ones.
Firstly, it was here that rescue ships sent to the position of the sinking of the Titanic
returned the bodies that were found still floating on the Atlantic
ocean surface. They were interred in three cemeteries in Halifax (in particular Fairview cemetery). In total about 200 Titanic
victims thus found a proper final resting place, while the remainder of the over 1500 dead were never found, their bodies lost at sea and many presumably trapped inside the sinking wreck too. (Cemetery photo on the right courtesy of Stanislav Urban.)
Halifax's Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
devotes a sizeable part of its exhibition space to the Titanic disaster and has a large collection of artefacts salvaged from the wreck on display, including a mahogany cabinet, a deckchair and, most poignantly, a pair of children's shoes … The museum's opening times
are: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays, open longer on Tuesdays (to 8 p.m.) and on Sundays from only 1 p.m., closed Mondays except in high season between May and October. Admission
: $8.75 in high season, $4.75 in winter (1 November to 30 April), some concessions apply. The museum's address
is: 1675 Lower Water Street in the heart of the historic harbour front.
Another dark claim to fame that this Canadian port town can make is that it was the site of the Halifax explosion
, a contender for the title "largest non-nuclear man-made blast" in history (another one is the deliberate "Big Bang" explosion on Heligoland
). In 1917, i.e. during World War One
, a supply vessel loaded to the brim with several thousand tons of high explosives ready to be shipped to Europe collided with another ship in Halifax harbour and caught fire. Shortly after, its cargo blew up in a blast that is estimated at a magnitude between 2.5 and 3 kilotons (that's ca. a fifth of the yield of the Hiroshima
Some 1600 people were killed instantly, hundreds more in the immediate aftermath, and nearly 10,000 were injured. The whole area was flattened and virtually every building in a radius of over 15 miles (25 km) was destroyed. Heavy parts of the ship such as its anchor were thrown high into the air and were found several miles away. The explosion also caused a tsunami
60 feet (18m) high.
The Halifax explosion is commemorated by a large memorial on Fort Needham, and is also covered by the Maritime Museum (see above).
in the centre of Nova Scotia's Atlantic
Ocean coast in eastern Canada