Archives Updates Halifax Explosion Online Resources

Tourism, Culture and Heritage

Published Friday, December 4, 2009

Visitors to the Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management Web site now have the opportunity to view rare film footage and photographs shot after the 1917 Halifax Explosion, newly re-mastered in a high-resolution format.

All of the photographs, films, and archival records in the Halifax Explosion 1917 Online Resources have been re-digitized, so Internet visitors can see, in great detail, the aftermath of the disaster and efforts to rebuild the city.


Dec. 6, 1917 is a day forever etched in the history of this province. Through these photos and films we see horrific damage and destruction, but also the strength and determination that eventually rebuilt Halifax.Bill Estabrooks on behalf of Percy Paris, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage

We are pleased to present Halifax Explosion Online Resources in a high-resolution format for website visitors. These photos, films, and records are powerful reminders of the turmoil our city once faced.Lois Yorke, director of public services.

Quick Facts

  • More than 160 images and documents showing the devastated city are featured with a new magnification tool that lets visitors explore each image in minute detail. Photos showing coffins piled up on Argyle Street, a cloud of smoke looming over the harbour, and entire city blocks levelled from the blast, are stark reminders of the chaos that followed the disaster.
  • A highlight of the resource is 13 minutes of silent black-and-white film shot by W.G. MacLaughlan, showing the waste and ruin of a city destroyed. Re-mastered and slowed to actual speed, the films reveal the clearest views and closest details yet seen of the terrible days that followed Dec. 6, 1917.
  • There are also several personal narratives of those who lived through the disaster, including a Dec. 10, 1917 letter written by a Halifax housewife and the 1985 reminiscences of an elderly woman looking back to when she was six years old at Chebucto School.
  • Another feature of the online resource is the Halifax Explosion Remembrance Book: A List of Those Who Died, a searchable database with information about 1,951 casualties. Information on the Halifax Relief Commission, 1917-1978, is also available.
  • Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management acquires, preserves and makes available the province's documentary heritage.

Learn More

Media Contacts

Lauren Oostveen
Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management


Argyle Street at the corner of George Street, Halifax, showing pine coffins supplied to Snow & Co., Undertakers, second building from right, for victims of the explosion.
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Norwegian steamship Imo beached on Dartmouth shore after the explosion.
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Smoke cloud from the Halifax Explosion, probably taken off McNabs Island 6 December 1917.
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Wrecked homes-Campbell Rd. (later called Barrington St.)
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Halifax Explosion
Caring for wounded aboard Red Cross trains
Relief efforts