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Explosion Sources Summaries and Links


Summary of Halifax City Council discussions related to the Halifax Explosion:

Click on date to view that meeting's minutes (102-1A); click on the relevant submission (102-1B) to view the reports, correspondence, etc. that Council reviewed at that meeting.



Relevant Submissions (102-1B)

1917-12-06 morning

City leaders gather at City Hall within hours of the Explosion to begin organization of relief efforts

  • Topics discussed:
    • Military Assistance
    • Medical Assistance
    • Fire Apparatus
    • Organization
    • Committees – Appointment of
  • Committees formed:
    • Executive Committee
    • Transportation Committee
    • Food Committee
    • Finance Committee
    • Mortuary Committee

1917-12-06 afternoon

Committees formed during the morning meeting were ratified and confirmed

  • Mr. Justice Harris, Chairman of the Finance Committee, reports that a credit has been opened at the Bank of Nova Scotia, for various committees to access when needed


Letters of sympathy and offers of assistance are read from: Regina, B.C., Washington, D.C, Vancouver, Boston, Quebec, Saskatoon, Hamilton, St. John, and “practically every town in Nova Scotia”

List of headlines:
  • Accommodation Refugees
  • Medical Assistance – Doctors and Nurses
  • Sympathy
  • Committees – Appointment of
  • Finance
  • Accommodation – Warehouse Western Union Cable Co. Service
  • Medical Assistance – St. John Ambulance Brigade
  • School Board Assistance – Teachers
  • Contributions – Moncton, N.B.
  • Reconstruction – Repairs
  • Transportation – Special Train
  • Distribution of Relief – Food
  • Registration
  • Accommodation – Knights of Columbus Hall, Shelter
  • Contributions
  • Transportation – Automobiles
  • Election to be avoided


Board of Control submits reports on the following  topics, Council discusses:

  • Acquiring and Rebuilding Devastated area of City – submission includes a letter from H.W. Johnston, Acting City Engineer, who encourages the City to acquire the devastated district in order to re-plan and re-build the area.


  • Appointment of Chief Mortuary Officer – submission includes a appointing Arthur S. Barnstead, barrister, as Chief Mortuary Officer and responsible for those killed during the Explosion.


  • Cemetery Lots  – report from the Board discusses arrangements for the burial of the dead at the Fairview Cemetery Co., Ltd.


  • Fire Department – Appointment of Chief and District Chief  – Edward Condon, Chief of the Halifax Fire Department, and William Brunt, District Chief, were both killed while on duty during the Explosion; submissions include a letter from Fire Board Chairman and Controller, John Hines, with recommendations for their replacements, as well as a letter from J.W. Churchill nominating himself as a candidate for Chief.


  • Appointment of Guards for the City – the military is appointed to guard the devastated areas of the City.


  • Burial of the Dead  – Submissions include an agreement from A.S. Barnstead, and With &Co., Ltd., the Nova Scotia Undertaking Co., and Joseph Spencer, in reference to the burial of bodies in the City for which the City is responsible.


  • Resolution is passed and submitted for printing in all daily newspapers, states that Council expresses sympathy and gratitude to all assistance provided thus far.


  • Railway transportation for persons to and from the city – referred to the Board of Control


Board of Control submits reports:

  • Rehabilitation (of the city following the Explosion) – submissions include a letter from D. MacGillivray, Chairman of the Halifax Board of Trade, and the Board of Control, requesting a conference to appoint an authoritative body to deal with the rehabilitation of the City.


  • Town Planning– submissions include a letter from H.W. Johnston, Acting Chief Engineer, and the Board, re: Mr. Thomas Adams, Planning Advisor of the Commission of Conservation, providing his services for town planning following the Explosion


  • Gratuities to Families of Firemen – the Board seeks authorization for the City to give $1,000 to each of the families of the firemen who perished during the Explosion (Firemen – Edward Condon, Chief Fire Department; W.M. Brunt, Assistant Chief; William Broderick, Captain No. 1 Engine; Michael Maltus, Hoseman on Motor Engine; Frank Killeen, Hoseman on Motor Engine; Walter Hennessey, Hoseman No. 5 Engine; John Duggan, Hoseman No. 2 Hose).


  • Memorial Service New Year’s Day – submissions include a letter from the [Anglican] Church of Nova Scotia, on behalf of the Clergy Committee, to request that Tuesday, January 1, 1918 be proclaimed as a day of memorial for the victims of the Explosion.


  • Safety to Shipping (precautions of ships entering and exiting the Harbour) [note: missing from submissions to Council]


  • p.123 – Theft of Liquor from Inspector’s Office – Council moves to hold an investigation into the article published by the Evening Mail, which accused elected representatives of the City and City Officials of breaking into the office of Liquor Inspector Tracey and stealing “booze”

Evening Herald article from 10 Jan. 1918, “The Great “Burglary Mystery” at City Hall” [courtesy of Halifax Public Libraries

Board of Control submits the following relevant  reports:

  • Fire Department  – report for December; report does not include the fires or losses caused by the Explosion, but does list the firemen who were killed and injured on Dec. 6, 1917 – E.P. Condon, W.T. Broderick, Frank Leahy, John Hennessey, Joseph Johnston, and Guss Hogsnaon.


  • Emergency Shelters on Common and Military Property  – letter from W.E. Thompson, Colonel, consenting to the erection on the Halifax Common, the Citadel Glacis, and Camp Hill, emergency shelters for those rendered homeless by the Explosion


  • Repairs to School Buildings  – submissions discuss the estimate amount required to conduct repairs to the damage caused by the Explosion at Country Academy, Tower Road School, Quinpool Road School, LeMarchant Street School, St. Mary’s Boys’  School, St. Mary’s Girls’ School, Manuel Training School, Alxendra School, St. Patrick’s Boys’ School, and Africville School. The estimated repair cost was $25,100.00


  • Halifax Appeal for Full Reparation  – Letter from the Mayor that was sent to all incorporated cities and towns in NS soliciting sympathy with Halifax in an appeal to the Dominion Government to make full reparation for the material loss caused by the Explosion.


  • Investigation into Catastrophe  submissions include a letter from the Board of Control to the Council stating that a request to the Government to investigate the cause of the Explosion and reoccurrence prevention measures was sent to the Prime Minister as well as cabinet ministers from Halifax. A reply  from the Prime Minister’s Secretary is also included.


  • Removal of Debris Richmond District  – The Board advises Council that the Reconstruction Committee gave a contract to Cavicchi & Pegano for clearing the debris in the Richmond District and require a piece of land to build a bunkhouse for their workmen. Acting City Engineer recommends the Incinerator Lot and seeks Council’s authorisation.



Board of Control submits reports:

  • Relief Advisory Committee (102-1B.25.19) – Halifax Relief Commission requests that a Relief Advisory Committee be appointed; committee to consist of the Mayor, Controllers Hines and Murphy, and Aldermen Godwin, Guildford, and Parker


  • Tenders for Motor Fire Engine (102-1B.25.20) – Board recommends the Council purchase a new fire engine to replace “Patricia,” which was destroyed in the Explosion. The American LaFrance Fire Engine Co. Toronto’s bid is recommended for acceptance



Board of Control submits reports:

  • Annual Provincial Exhibition – Board recommends to Council that despite the devastation caused by the Explosion, including to the Exhibition grounds, that the Council should support and attempt to rehabilitate or re-establish the event .


  • Public Schools – Gratuity $1,000.00 to Mrs. Annie Pritchard – Board recommends paying Mrs. Pritchard a gratuity for her husband, John Pritchard, janitor at Richmond School, who was killed while working during the Explosion



  • p. 137 – Provincial Exhibition – Relief Advisory Committee to take up with the Relief Commission, that the Commission pay a rental to the Exhibition Commission for use of the property as temporary housing, in order for the Exhibition Commission to gain revenue lost due to the destruction of the property caused by the Explosion
  • p. 140 – Fire Protection Emergency Shelters (fire protection for temporary dwellings on the Exhibition Ground)


  • p. 162 – Infectious Diseases Hospital – Board of Control verbal report: Relief Commission had called for tenders to build a temporary hospital for infectious diseases – at cost of $27,000 in total. Commission is only prepared to spend $10,000 on a temporary structure. p.163 – Board of Control disagrees with proposal, and instead wishes to repair the damaged hospital at Rockhead rather than build a temporary structure, with the $10,000 from the Commission, the $8,000 claimed in damages, and the remaining $9,000 financed by the City.


Board of Control reports:

  • Infectious Diseases Hospital (102-1B.25.76) – Board of Control recommends reconstruction of the Infectious Diseases Hospital at Rockhead.


  • Protest of three members of the City Health Board against reconstruction of Infectious Disease Hospital – Rockhead  – letter from the Chairman of the City Health Board and two other members who oppose the reconstruction of the hospital at Rockhead prison.


Minutes, p.169-70 – Infectious Disease Hospital – to be further referred to as the Isolation Hospital. Referred back to the Board of Control to hire an architect to prepare plans for a permanent hospital on the City Home property, at Morris St. rather than Rockhead.

  • Board of Control then verbally reports they recommend that the City build a temporary Isolation Hospital on the City Home property, rather than reconstruct the hospital at Rockhead.


Board of Control presents 36 reports, including:

  • p.173 – North End Fire Protection (102-1B.25.59a) – Board recommends that the Council request the Relief Commission to build a temporary fire station on the Incinerator property or give the Fire Department use of one of their buildings for a temporary station in order to protect the North End, including the temporary housing on the Exhibition Grounds



p.174 – Relief Expenditure $16,347.98  – submission includes accounts related to Relief Work after the Explosion submitted to the Advisory Relief Committee. Board of Control recommends that the City request a loan of the above amount from the Relief Commission.


p.177 – Gratuity to Daughter of John Spruin  – Board recommends a payment of $500 be made to Florence, daughter of John Spruin, a fireman killed in the Explosion


p.180-1 – Loan $20,000 from Relief Commission for Fire Department  – Board report recommends a temporary loan in order to replace Fire Department equipment that  was destroyed during the Explosion.


p.181 – Isolation Hospital  – submission includes a letter from the Relief Commission rejecting the Board’s latest proposal for the building of an Isolation Hospital. The Board recommends to Council to accept the Commission’s letter and to request that they proceed with the building of an emergency hospital on the City Home property, Morris St.


p.181-182 – Report His Worship the Mayor re: Tracey Liquor Enquiry –

  •  Two letters (Feb. 20th and 28th) from F.E. Barrett, Secretary of the Social Service Council of Nova Scotia, requesting that the allegations against the Council be properly investigated before a County Court Judge. Also includes a newspaper clipping from the Herald, March 7th, 1918, criticizing the Council for not responding to the letters and not launching an investigation into the allegations
  • in response to the allegation from the Evening Mail, which accused Council members of breaking into the Liquor Inspector’s office and stealing liquor, the Mayor conducted an investigation into the allegations [first mentioned 1918-01-10]. The Board of Control submission is a letter from the Mayor that states his investigation found no wrongdoing on the part of the Council. In the Council meeting minutes: Alderman Macnab proposes a resolution related to the incident.

102-1b.25.197[includes newspaper clipping]


Evening Herald article about liquor theft [see Digital Scans folder]


  • p.185 – Council summoned to a meeting with the Halifax Relief Commission to discuss “the provisions of House of Assembly Bill No.81 entitled “An Act to Incorporate the Halifax Relief Commission”
  • p.186 – Council passes a motion to notify the Premier of Nova Scotia that they wish to have “Bill No.82 An Act to Incorporate the Halifax Relief Commission” [minutes use both no.81 and no.82, but it is correctly no.81] withdrawn from the Legislature


  • p.189- Halifax Relief Commission: letter from R.E. Finn, M.P.P.; House of Assembly Committee on Law Amendments to meet with City Council the following morning [April 5th, 1918] at 11am to discuss “An Act to Incorporate the Halifax Relief Commission”
  • Board of Control report:
    • Relief Commission Act of Incorporation (102-1B.25.106) – submission includes letter from R.E. Finn proposing a meeting with the Council



  • Council discusses proposed act to abolish Board of Control
  • House of Assembly Bill No.97 “An Act to enable a plebiscite to be taken in the City of Halifax as to form of Civic Government” is motioned but lost
  • Resolution proposed by Alderman R.B. Colwell which states reasoning for bill is in part due to the needs of the city following the Explosion


  • Board of Control presents reports:
    • p.205 – Loan $20,000 to Pay Relief Bills – letter (102-1B.25.114) and resolution (102-1B.25.112) – Board of Control recommends that the City Treasurer negotiate a loan of above amount from the Relief Commission in order to pay Relief Accounts. Council submits and passes a resolution for Treasurer to negotiate with the Commission.




Board of Control report:

  • Relief Advisory Committee (102-1B.25.150) – Mayor approves Advisory Committee to consist of four, rather than the six members under the previous administration. Committee members are to be the Mayor, Controller Finlay, and Aldermen Godwin and Parker.
  • p.9 of minutes: council approves



  • Informal meeting of the City Council with members of the Halifax Relief Commission
  • Board of Control submission – Relief Commission’s Policy of Restoration (102-1B.25.192)
  • Topics in discussion:
    • Rebuilding of destroyed houses, the development of properties in the North End by the Commission
    • Devastated district defined as “the portion of the City bounded westerly by Robie Street and Longard Road, easterly by Campbell Road, northerly by Leeds Street (running past the Rockhead property) and southerly by the Wellington barracks property and Russel Street extenstion. The area containing about three hundred and twenty-five acres.”
    • Architects for the rebuilding are Mr. Ross and Mr. McDonald from Montreal
    • Street changes and general planning development handled by Thomas Adams of the Commission of Conservation, Ottawa
    • Manager of the Reconstruction Department – Mr. George H. Archibald
    • Rehabilitation Department under the leadership of Dr. Cutton, coadjutors Miss Wisdom and Miss Haliburton
    • As of the date of this report, the Commission had considered 13838 claims following the Explosion, disbursed over $2 million, appraised 750 properties, and compiled a list of 3500 houses needing repairs, and the Pension Board dealt with 577 pensions, totaling $1,750,000
    • Questions from Aldermen and citizens regarding the rebuilding of individual homes in the devastated area


Map showing boundaries of devastated district – Lou Collins fonds, CR 30B.48


Board of Control reports:

  • p. 49 – Fire Hose Destroyed in Explosion December 6th [102-1B does not include this report, but instead has a report entitled “Fire Hose Destroyed in Riot, May 25, 1918”]
  • p. 51 – Fire Department Motor Car for Chief – Board recommends purchase of a car for the Fire Department Chief, whose car was destroyed in the Explosion, report adopted and referred back to Board of Control [submission contained within other submission – 102-1B.25.267]

Board of Control Report – Fire Department Motor Car for Chief contained within 102-1b.26.267“Fire Department’s Chief’s Motor Car,” July 7, 1918


Board of Control reports:

  • p.58 – Explosion Accounts  – Board recommends payment of accounts $12,432.84[?] incurred by various departments as a result of the Explosion; report adopted and accounts to be paid, motion passed


  • p.61 – Market Building Rental by Relief Commission letter from the Relief Commission re: their rental of the City Market Building for storage at $200.00 per month; adopted, motion passed


  • p.66 – School Buildings – Explosion Damage – Board of School Commissioners request loan of $275,000.00 for repairs to school buildings damaged during the Explosion; report adopted, motion passed

102-1b.25.194[hard to read, damaged papers]


Board of Control reports:

  • p.70 – Fire Department Chief’s Motor Car– report re: purchase of a car for the Chief of the Fire Department


  • p.72-3 – Loan -$500,000.00 for Explosion Expenditure – Board recommends an application be made to the Minister of Finance, Ottawa, for a $500,000 loan for expenditures related to the Explosion and “to make borrowings from the Relief Commission on amount same”; report adopted, motion passed



  • p. 77 – Gratuities to Dependents of Firemen Killed – Gratuities of $1000 each to be paid to the families of the firemen who were killed in the Explosion, referred to the Board of Control to see if they are available
  • p.78 – Gratuity to Widow of Janitor of School Building Killed – referred to Board of Control as to whether the $1000 gratuity for the family of the Janitor of Richmond School is available

Board of Control minutes re: gratuities


Board of Control reports:

  • p.84 – Explosion Taxes on Properties in Devastated Area  – report from City Assessor re: taxes in areas devastated by the Explosion; report referred back to Board for further consideration


Board of Control minutes re: taxes

  • p. 84 – City Hall Repairs and Alterations  – report from Assistant City Engineer requesting confirmation that the Board of Control came to a resolution re: repairs to City Hall caused by damage from the Explosion and the riot of May 25th


  • p.85 – Explosion Repairs to City Buildings – report from City Engineer re: tenders for repairs to City Buildings damaged during the Explosion; report adopted, motion passed


  • p.86 – Explosion-School Buildings Repairs – letter from Deputy Provincial Secretary re: school repairs contracts with S.M. Brookfield (Bloomfield High and Joseph Howe Schools) and W.T. Harris & Son, Ltd. (Chebucto, Oxford, and St. Patrick’s Girls’ High)


  • p.86 – Explosion-School Buildings Repairs  – letter from the Deputy Provincial Secretary re: loan of $275,000 for Explosion repairs to school buildings and $1307.50 for the purchase of two portable school buildings for extra accommodation for schoolchildren in the devastated area. Governor in Council will hear application on Saturday 27 July 1918 at 11am


  • p. 87 – Tracey Liquor Enquiry  – submission includes a report from Deputy Mayor Godwin and a letter from Judge Wallace, Judge of County Court, re: the theft of liquor from Liquor Inspector Tracey’s office



Board of Control reports:

  • p.91 – Explosion Accounts – City Health Board (102-1B.26.345)– Board of Control recommends payment of City Health Board Accounts chargeable to Relief expenditure



  • p.95 – Explosion – Fire Department Repairs “Patricia”  – Letter from The American LaFrance Fire Engine Co., of Canada requesting payment for the repairs made to the fire engine “Patricia.” Board recommends the payment of $6000 be made


  • p.96 – Explosion – Furniture Repairs City Hall – Board recommends payment to C.A. Leverman for repairs to furniture in City Hall that were damaged by the Explosion


  • p.98 – Explosion – School Building Repairs, Order in Council – Board report covers order of the Governor in Council permitting the City to issue debentures to raise $100,000 for repairs to school buildings damaged in the Explosion


p.99 – Explosion – Taxation on Properties in Devastated Area  – Board of Control reports that all tax bills should be sent out by the Assessor, discounts are applicable on property taxes of those affected by the Explosion



Board of Control reports:

  • p.101-2 – Bonds for Loan of $500,000 from Relief Commission  – adopted and motion passed. Resolution submitted by Council that states the stipulations of the loan



  • Ten aldermen (of 12) on the City Council resigned between August 31 and September 3. The following Aldermen tendered their resignation to the City Clerk: H.S. Colwell, Hugh E. Maonab, R.B. Bolwell, Frank A. Gillis, J.E. Furness, E.J. Kelly, W.G. Foley, H.L. Hart, Michael Day, R.D. Guildford
  • NOTE: No quorum existed for Council following these resignations. Between September 1918 and June 1919, Mayor Hawkins and the Board of Control ran the City. A plebiscite was held 30 April 1919, during which eligible voters voted to get rid of the Board of Control and revert to a city council made up of 18 aldermen, which had been in place up until the Board of Control was instated in 1913 (Council Minutes, 124; Roper, 63). Following the municipal elections of 28 May 1919, eighteen aldermen were elected and City Council was reinstated on 3 June (Roper, 63).

Roper, Henry. “The Halifax Board of Control: The Failure of Municipal Reform, 1906-1919.” Acadiensis 14, 2 (1985): 46-65.


  • Samuel Walter McCall, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, visits Halifax.
  • p. 112 – Civic Address to Governor McCall of Massachusetts, taken from the Morning Chronicle
  • p.113 – The Civic Address, read to Gov. McCall by the City Clerk Monaghan
  • p.114 – The Governor’s Reply, discusses Massachusetts’ response to the Explosion, and relationship between Canada and the US
  • p.115 – Address by the Mayor


  • First meeting of the City Council since 26 August 1918
  • p.26 – Explosion Repairs to School Buildings – Board of School Commissioners request $16,654.80 for payment for accounts for explosion repairs
  • p.36 – Relief Advisory Committee – Mayor, Alderman Finlay, Godwin, Power, and Guildford are appointed to the Committee


  • p.126-8 – Explosion – Loan $25,000.00 for Schools and City Property Damage – report from the Finance Committee with letter from Board of School Commissioners requesting a loan to pay off accounts for repairs associated with the Explosion


  • Resolution City Council re: Loan $25,000 from Relief Commission for Explosion Repairs Schools and City Property



  • p.207-9 – Fire Department Motor Driver William Wells (102-1B.27.95)– report from the Committee of Fire Wards re: pay of William Wells, who was the only crew member of fire engine “Patricia” who survived the Explosion and suffered great injuries and was disabled as a result
  •  p.219 – Explosion – Cost of School Buildings – Alderman Regan requests a report from the Finance Committee Re: whether the Relief Commission will pay for new school buildings



p.246 – Explosion Accounts – reports from Finance Committee and City Auditors re: certain Explosion accounts



p.362-3 – Explosion – Cost of School Buildings – report from Finance Committee on the amount to be contributed by the Relief Commission toward the cost of construction of school buildings that were destroyed by the Explosion



p.566 – Explosion – Fire Department Accounts – report from the Committee of Firewards discussing the payment of accounts chargeable to the Explosion


p.575 – Public Schools Loan $817,559.50  – letter from Deputy Provincial Secretary from hearing before the Governor in Council in regard to the application of the Board of School Commissioners for the construction of four school buildings. The letter states that the Halifax Relief Commission will advance the Board $154,870 which is the amount determined to cover the Explosion damages



p.605-6 – Explosion City Building Repairs – reports from the Committee on Works and the City Engineer recommending settlement in full of account D.G. Stewart for Explosion repairs to City property


p.608-11 – Explosion – Loan $565,000.00 from Relief Commission  – report from Finance Committee recommending the issuing of new certificates for $565,000.00 to replace certificates due January 1st, 1920 for loans made to the City for claims and other purposes by the Relief Commission



p.125 – Petition from residents of the Halifax Relief Commission’s Relief House on the Exhibition Grounds, discussing the terrible conditions they are living in and appealing to Council for help. The Commission had boarded up windows in the houses and asked residents to vacate the houses which would render them homeless



p.421 – Halifax Relief Commission Claim and City’s Counter Claim – referred to Finance Committee to settle accounts with the Commission

No submission


p.437 – Halifax Relief Commission Claim and City’s Counter Claim – conferences being held and the adjustment would be submitted to Council before the final settlement

No submission


p.537-551 – Halifax Relief Commission Claim – Finance Committee report on the claim and counter claims and the final settlement amounts



p.658-60 – Halifax Relief Commission Claim – Mayor addressed the Council on the subject of financing the claim of the Halifax Relief Commission against the City

No submission


p.776-8 – Explosion – Halifax Relief Commission Claim – Loan for Settlement – report from the Finance Committee



p.245 – Halifax Relief Commission Assessment – report from Finance Committee re: agreement with the Relief Commission relating to the assessment of Commission property by the City Assessor – property valued at $500,000 is set to expire January 2, 1932. Recommended a committee be formed to discuss the report with the Commission



p.324-6 – Halifax Relief Commission Assessment of Property – correspondence between the Commission and the Finance Committee re: assessment of Commission property



p.326 – Assessment Halifax Relief Commission – letter from the Halifax Relief Commission regarding volunteer assessment on their properties received by the Finance and Executive Committee



p.456 – Halifax Relief Commission – Council discusses the assessment on the properties of the Commission, to be fixed at $530,000

No submission


p.40-3 – Town Planning Regulations Halifax Relief Commission – letter from the Commission regarding repealing sections of the Halifax Relief Commission act in order to give up town planning authority to the Council. Also report from Alderman J.G. DeWolf discussing the Halifax Relief Commission claim of 1926.



p.209 – Halifax Relief Commission Act – repeals various sections of the Act to Incorporate the Halifax Relief Commission

No submission


p.547-9 – Halifax Relief Commission Houses – Council forms a Committee to interview the Relief Commission re: intent to sell the Relief Commission houses in the Hydrostone

No submission


p.771-2 – Assessment Halifax Relief Commission – City Assessor values Relief Commission property at $751,300; Commission agrees to pay the City taxes on that amount



  • p.214-5 – Town Planning Powers Halifax Commission – letter from the Commission re: town planning powers transferred from the Commission to the City of Halifax
  • p.215 – Fort Needham Project – Mayor states the Government will pay for this project1949-08-11fortneedhammemorialpark



p.489-90 – Purchase of Boulevard Houses – Hydrostone District – Committee on Works agree the Mayor should contact the Relief Commission to ask to withdraw the Boulevard Houses for sale so the City can purchase them



  • p.554-6 – Purchase – Hydrostone Houses – Council agrees to purchase a number of houses from the Relief Commission, for street improvements at a later date. The City would rent out the houses to new tenants and current tenants would be moved to other Commission owned properties
  • p.561 – Hydrostone Houses – Relief Commission – Commission owns 29 buildings/44 units

Submissions available at Municipal Archives



p.228-9 – Surplus Funds – Halifax Relief Commission – Committee to be formed of Mayor, Alderman DeWolf, and Acting City Manager to meet with the Commission re: transferring surplus funds to the City


p.15 – Letter – Halifax Relief Commission Re: Grant for North End Library - $100,000 grant from the Commission to be put towards the cost of a new library in the North End


p.914-5 – Celebration of Anniversary of Halifax Explosion – City and Province would be joint sponsors for the 50th anniversary of the Explosion, committee to be appointed soon after the “outstanding figure” they had invited responded. Alderman Sullivan to be on the committee.


p.1020 – Memorial Service – 50th Anniversary of Halifax Explosion – Alderman Sullivan offers thanks to members of City department who contributed to the service.


p.262C – Appointment – Committee – Halifax Explosion – committee appointed to prepare an annual program to commemorate the Halifax Explosion, committee members – Aldermen Sullivan, Doyle, and Connolly.


p.696 – Halifax Relief Explosion Fund – discussion about increasing the pensions for the remaining 52 pensioners who were affected by the Explosion


p.500-1 – Pensions for Victims of Halifax Explosion – Council discusses pensions for victims and beautification of the Hydrostone area where many of the victims reside


  • p.554 – Halifax Explosion Memorial Bells – Mrs. Janet Kitz of the Halifax Explosion Memorial Bells Committee discusses the donation of a carillon tower of nine historic bells to the United Memorial Church by Mrs. T.W. Thompson.
  • p.555 – Committee discusses the plans for the proposed memorial at Fort Needham, a trust fund to cover the costs, and requests Council’s permission for the use of the proposed site.
  • Council refers matter to City staff for review and establishes a committee to conduct a report on the feasibility of the proposed memorial


Halifax Explosion Memorial Bells Committee – Alderman O’Malley presents Council’s Committee of the Memorial Bells’ report – site on Fort Needham to be licensed to the Memorial Bells Committee for permanent memorial and Council will make special $10,000 donation to the Committee for the construction of the memorial


p.784 – Halifax Explosion – Disbursement of Relief Funds – Council discusses the funds remaining for the pensions of those affected by the Explosion

1991-11-28 p.852-3 – 1917 Explosion Commemoration Committee (Alderman O’Malley) – the 1917 Explosion Commemoration Committee Halifax/Dartmouth struck to plan events for the 75th anniversary of the Explosion in 1992
1993-04-15 p.267-8 – Question Alderman Jeffrey Re: Explosion Medallion – discussion about medallions and coins received by survivors of the Explosion for the 75th anniversary
1994-12-15 p.734 – Halifax Explosion Memorial – Needham Park – discussion by Committee regarding funding for the memorial



Summary of Board of Control discussions related to the Halifax Explosion(102-2A):

Meeting minutes are not yet digitized; originals can be viewed at the Archives.



December 11, 1917

Emergency meeting called by the Chairman of the Board.  Policing, martial law, safety, and additional resources discussed.

December 11, 1917

Public safety and steps to prevent future disaster, including able bodied individuals needed to work were discussed.

December 11, 1917

Discussion of printing protection of life and property notices, as well as proper disposal of the deceased, cost of burials. Notice from Deputy Mayor regarding shelters for those with unfit accommodations.

December 12, 1917

Filling positions that are now vacant in the Fire Department due to the accident. The positions are Chief of the Fire Department and District Chief. Controller Hines reports that a mechanic from American LaFrance Fire Engine Co. has overhauled the fire engine ‘Patricia.’

December 12, 1917

Transportation of refugees from the city and those coming to assist in relief and construction work. The Board communicated that the Relief Committee would take full responsibility for the payment of transportation for women and children if they wish to travel outside the city.

December 15, 1917

Report from Thomas Adams, Town Planning Advisor, Commission of Conservation, regarding re-development of devastated area. Topics include: railway development, industrial sites, road conditions, sewage systems/piping fire stations’ repair, rebuilding/repair of schools, police patrols/access to affected area. The Admiralty and Ministry of Shipping’s report on ship’s safety and passage noted. Arrival of new fire engine, ‘Cornwallis.’

December 20, 1917

A request from Clare L. (representing the Clergy Committee) that Tuesday, January 1, 1918 be a day to commemorate those lost and those who suffered from the Explosion. British and Colonial Press, Limited offer prints of Explosion for 50 cents each, samples requested. News that the LaFrance fire engine has been put into commission. Payment to lost firemen’s families addressed.

December 24, 1917

Topics include: repairs to school buildings, prohibition of liquor, removal of debris in Richmond District, investigation into cause of disaster, meals for visiting firemen (Halifax Hotel), Christmas entertainment for visiting doctors and nurses.

December 27, 1917

Topics include: meals for visiting firemen (Queen Hotel), temporary shelter, investigation into catastrophe, safety to shipping, storage of explosives, financing repair work, and the Rehabilitation Commission.

December 28, 1917

Topics include: list of committees and depots requested, street lights, street railway service, temporary dwelling request, Acadian School property-outhit building repairs, Rehabilitation and Claims committee

January 2, 1918

Topics include: temporary buildings, meals for visiting firemen (Halifax Hotel), prohibition of liquor, street lighting, street railway service, telephone service, temporary repairs to school buildings, inspection of damage to city property, relief committees, supply depots, storage of explosives, motor fire engine ‘Patricia.’

January 3, 1918

Topics include: investigation into cause of catastrophe, reimbursement for loss of taxes through catastrophe, Public School estimates for 1918-1919 (revision may be needed), City Home (cost of maintenance of Explosion sufferers).

January 4, 1918

Controller Murphy addresses the Relief Committee’s Work thus far and voiced concerns. The Board decides to meet with the Rehabilitation and Claims Committee at 4pm that afternoon to discuss points raised by Murphy (treatment of citizens, and lack of local employment during relief efforts).

January 5, 1918

Topics include: fire engines, fuel shortage (Murphy suggests portable motor driven saws be purchased to collect lumber from Devastated District), burial of fireman lost in disaster, and Halifax appeal for full reparation.

January 8, 1918

Topics include: Fire Department, inspection of chimneys, electric wiring and fire alarm system, military patrol of devastated area, repairs to buildings, and street railway service.

January 10, 1918

Topics include: emergency shelters on the Common and Military property, working hours and conditions building trades, public schools re-opening (coal shortage addressed), repairing Public Gardens fence, Acadian School Property-Outhit Building, telephone service, street railway service, increase of electric light bills through disaster, fire alarm system (damage by Explosion), and firemen killed whilst on duty or from injury. 

January 15, 1918

Topics include: City Home-cost of maintenance of Explosion sufferers, lack of city lighting and shortage of inner globes for street lights, street railway service, Acadian School Property-Outhit Building, continued medical assistance for Explosion sufferers requested by Board (directed to the Medical Relief Committee)

January 21, 1918

Topics include: emergency repairs to school buildings that could be used to temporarily house students, members of the Board of School Commissioners address the need for a loan from the Relief Committee to conduct repairs. The Board addresses the Relief Committee’s request for a resolution to be passed for the $50 000 loan. 

January 22, 1918

Topics include: school buildings emergency repairs, relief administration building, and replacing bulbs for street lights affected by Explosion.

January 24, 1918

Topics include: continuance of medical attendance, `Unity of Effort` Conference, Annual Provincial Exhibition and how the Explosion affected the grounds, discussion of rehabilitation of the Exhibition, school building repairs, and relief administration building.

January 28, 1918

Board joined by Deputy Mayor H. S. Colwell, Alderman Parker, Mr. Coolen, Mr. Shaeffer and others from the Trades and Labor Council. Topics include: Rehabilitation, including housing problem, increase of rentals, reimbursing the City for loss of taxes, building restrictions in devastated area, the setting apart of manufacturing and residential districts, building new housing, re-development of district, rebuilding by the Commission or the payment of cash value of buildings destroyed, fire and life insurance adjustments, interest on mortgages, and notice to sufferers to file claims.

January 29, 1918

Topics include: school buildings emergency repairs, relief for civil servants, and Market Building for storage of clothing (requested by Relief Commission).

January 31, 1918

Topics include: Relief Advisory Committee and Acadian School Property damage by the Explosion.

February 1, 1918

Topics include: emergency repairs to the Smallpox Hospital at Rockhead, by the Reconstruction Committee, financed by the Relief Commission.

February 7, 1918

Topics include: sale of the Acadian School, the Tracey Liquor Inquiry (letter from the Social Service Council requesting an investigation into the allegations), Halifax Relief Commission conference with the Civic Advisory Committee, and payment by the City for the burial of the firemen killed by the Explosion.

February 12, 1918

Topics include emergency repairs to fire stations damaged by the Explosion, repairs to the Small Pox hospital, loses to the City due to uncollectable taxes for property damaged by the Explosion, and estimated damage to City buildings.

February 14, 1918

Topics include damage to the Stayner Wharf property from the Explosion, which is leased to the City; emergency relief fund for repairs to City property; superannuation of firemen Joseph Johnston, John Hennessey, and Patrick Monaghan, who were injured on Dec. 6th; and gratuities to the widows of the firemen killed in the Explosion.

February 19, 1918

Topics include report from H.W. Johnston, Acting City Engineer, detailing the damage done to City property and estimates for repairs; and fire protection for emergency shelters on the Provincial Exhibition Grounds.

February 21, 1918

Topics include superannuation for firemen; Tracey Liquor Investigation (two letters from the Social Service Council again requesting an investigation into the allegations of theft of liquor and drunkenness); and gratuities to Mrs. Lynch, daughter of John Spruin who was killed on Dec. 6th.

February 25, 1918

Topics include tenders for the construction of the Infectious Diseases Hospital from the Relief Commission; gratuities to widows of the firemen killed in the Explosion; explosion accounts of $16,347.98 to be charged to the Relief Commission; report from the City Health Board to the Relief Commission re: tenements on Locman Street damaged by the Explosion; and military guards for the devastated area of the City.

February 25, 1918

Topics include further consideration for the expenditure for the Infectious Disease Hospital.

February 26, 1918

Topics include military guards for the devastated areas of the City.

February 28, 1918

Topics include taxes on properties destroyed by the Explosion; a request to be made to the Board of School Commissioners re: appraisement of damage to school properties; appointment of appraisers to inspect City’s damaged properties; relief expenditures and loans from the Relief Commission; and the Infectious Diseases Hospital.

March 5, 1918

Topics include report from Board of School Commissioners re: loan from the Relief Commission for repairs to the Richmond and Bloomfield Schools; fire prevention for emergency shelters on the Provincial Exhibition Grounds, the Common, the Citadel, and the tenements opposite the Halifax Hotel; and the Tracey Liquor Investigation (Feb. 28 letter from the Social Service Council again requesting an investigation).

March 7, 1918

Topics include letter from the Relief Commission re: location of Isolation Hospital; fire protection for temporary shelters and the Theakson apartments; loan of $20,000 from the Relief Commission for the Fire Department for repairs and replacement equipment; Town Planning Scheme (refers to “Map No.1” of area included in Town Planning Scheme – deposited at City Engineer’s Office); selling of goods by the Relief Commission; and temporary fire station for temporary shelters in the North End.

  • 102-2B.10.25– Nova Scotia Town Planning Act, notice from Town Planning Board

March 12, 1918

Topics include fire alarm boxes for fire protection of temporary dwellings on North Common.

March 14, 1918

Topics include construction of the Isolation Hospital by the Relief Commission.

March 19, 1918

Topics include expenses for Beatrice Harrington, a refugee at the time of the Explosion; taxes on properties destroyed by the Explosion; North End fire protection; loans to the City (Commission will not provide any more advances to the City); financing expenditures to civic property needing repairs; and updates to the Isolation Hospital.

March 21, 1918

Topics include letter from the Relief Commission re: Explosion expenses, and loans for repairs to civic buildings.

March 26, 1918

Topics include taxes on properties destroyed by the Explosion.

April 2, 1918

Topics include Bill No. 81 “An Act to Incorporate the Halifax Relief Commission” and objections by the Board and citizens to the bill.

April 4, 1918

Topics include damage to the City Prison caused by the Explosion.

April 9, 1918

Topics include request from Board of School Commissioners for a grant of $25,000.00 for emergency repairs to school buildings; repairs to the City Prison; construction on the Infectious Diseases Hospital; taxes and water rates on properties destroyed in the disaster; and the Halifax Relief Commission charter “Bill No.82[sic] “An Act to Incorporate the Halifax Relief Commission.””

April 11, 1918

Topics include repairs to City property and repairs to Stayner’s Wharf property.

April 18, 1918

Topics include letter from the Board of School Commissioners re: appraisal of damage caused by the Explosion to Alexander McKay School.

April 23, 1918

Topics include letter from Rhodes Curry Co, Ltd., re: payments for goods purchased; funds for emergency relief efforts from the Relief Commission.

April 25, 1918

Topics include $20,000 loan to pay for repairs to damage caused by the Explosion.

April 29, 1918

Topics include delaying the City’s Assessment Plan; military patrol of the devastated area.

May 2, 1918

Topics include military patrol of the devastated area; and loan for $10,000 from the Relief Commission.

May 6, 1918

Topics include overdue accounts with Rhodes Curry Company Limited for Explosion related supplies; reducing the size of the Relief Advisory Committee to the Mayor, one controller, and two aldermen; communication between the Mayor and the Relief Commission

May 7, 1918

Topics include correspondence with the Relief Commission re: interest on loans and the use of motor trucks to assist in City clean up; appointment of new Relief Advisory Committee.

May 14, 1918

Topics include civic finances, including those relating to the Explosion; and smallpox outbreak among men involved in the reconstruction efforts.

May 16, 1918

Topics include repairs to City buildings; request for Relief Commission to build addition to the hospital for smallpox patients; and repairs to the City Prison.

May 21, 1918

Topics include repairs to City buildings; and the building of an addition to the hospital at Rockhead for smallpox patients.

May 23, 1918

Topics include town planning for the devastated area of the City and fire protection for temporary dwellings on the Exhibition grounds.

May 28, 1918

Topics include replacement for firehose lost in the Explosion and fire protection for Exhibition ground temporary houses

May 31, 1918

Special meeting with the Mayor Hawkins, Controllers Murphy, Hines and Finlay, F.S. Isard, representing Mr. Noroross and Mr. Wolvin, H.W. Johnston, F.H. Bell, P.J. MacManus, T.S. Rogers, representing the Relief Commission, and L. Fred Monaghan (City Clerk). Group discusses the proposal to build a steel shipyard on Campbell Rd., which is situated in the devastated part of the City.

June 18, 1918

Topics include statement of Explosion accounts payable to the Relief Commission

June 20, 1918

Topics include Explosion accounts.

June 25, 1918

Topics include Explosion accounts, including emergency relief, payable to the Relief Commission; removal of garbage and ashes from the temporary dwellings on the Exhibition Ground, the South Common, and the Citadel; and vandalism in the devastated area.

June 28, 1918

Topics include Explosion damages and accounts for the Academy, Acadian, Africville, Alexander McKay, Alexandra, Bloomfield, Chebucto, College Street, Industrial, Joseph Howe, LeMarchant, Manual Training, Morris St., Protestant Orphanage, Oxford, Quinpool Rd., Richmon, St. Joseph’s, St. Mary’s Boys’, St. Mary’s Girls’, St. Patrick’s Boys’, St. Patrick’s Girls’, St. Patrick’s Girls’ High, St. Patrick’s Home, and Tower Rd. schools, and two portable schools for the Exhibition Grounds.

July 2, 1918

Topics include rental of the Market Building by the Relief Commission.

July 4, 1918

Topics include school building repairs to Joseph Howe School and the portable schools on Exhibition Grounds.

July 5, 1918

Topics include repairs to City Hall

July 11, 1918

Topics include loan of $500,000 for Explosion expenditure loan from Relief Commission.

July 16, 1918

Topics include taxation of properties in devastated area, Explosion accounts, and tenders for Explosion repairs to City buildings.

July 18, 1918

Topics include school building repairs and repairs to City buildings.

July 20, 1918

Topics include City Hall Explosion repairs and police court alterations.

July 23, 1918

Topics include repairs to Oxford School, Explosion accounts, tax exemption, and replacement fire hose.

July 29, 1918

Topics include City Hall repairs and alterations, repairs to school buildings, and town planning.

  • 102-2B.10.28 – City Hall Repairs and Alterations, report from Asst. City Engineer.

July 30, 1918

Topics include repairs to school buildings and inspections of buildings in the devastated area.

August 1, 1918

Topics include installation of a telephone on the Exhibition Grounds for fire protection of temporary dwellings; Explosion repairs to the Police Station; Explosion accounts; repairs to school buildings; evacuation of Oxford School, which was being used as an the Infectious Diseases Hospital, for fumigation and repairs; taxation of properties in the devastated area; and accommodation at Police Station, City Hall for Naval patrols.

August 6, 1918

Topics include thank-you from School Board for loan of $50,000 for repairs to school buildings; correspondence from City Health Board re: Isolation Hospital at Morris St.-Oxford School; account for furniture repairs for the Mayor’s Office damaged by the Explosion; repairs to City Hall; and disability allowance for William Wells, ex-engineer of the Motor Fire Engine “Patricia” who was injured in the Explosion.

August 8, 1918

Topics include account for repairs to “Patricia,” the fire engine damaged in the Explosion; and loans from the Relief Commission in connection with Explosion damage.

August 8, 1918

Topics include City Hall repairs, alterations, and furniture repair.

August 13, 1918

Topics include painting of City Hall, request for revised estimate of the City’s losses related to the Explosion, and correspondence between the City and the American LaFrance Fire Engine Company.

August 20, 1918

Topics include accounts with American LaFrance Fire Engine Company.

August 22, 1918

Topics include repairs to the Isolation Hospital on Morris St.

August 26, 1918

Topics include resolution from City Treasurer for loan of $500,000 from the Relief Commission.

September 3, 1918

Topics include resignation of aldermen from City Council; repairs to Infectious Diseases Hospital at Rockhead; report on Isolation Hospital – Morris St.,

September 4, 1918

Topics include City Hall repairs, and correspondence with Relief Commission re: loan of $25,000 and interest rates.

September 5, 1918

Topics include security for loan from Relief Commission

September 10, 1918

Topics include application from Board of School Commissioners for loan of $50,000 from Relief Commission for repairs to schools; tax exemptions for devastated area; and correspondence on Isolation Hospital – Morris St.

September 12, 1918

Topics include resignation of aldermen; and correspondence between the Board of Control, the City Health Board, and the Relief Commission re: Isolation Hospital, Morris St.;

September 17, 1918

Topics include painting of City Hall; Isolation Hospital, Morris St.; and Explosion accounts.

September 24, 1918

Topics include tax exemptions for devastated areas.

September 27, 1918

Topics include loss of taxes due to the Explosion and repairs to City property.

October 1, 1918

Topics include gratuities to dependents of firemen killed in the Explosion, including Mrs. Mary E. Condon (Edward), Mrs. Margaret Brunt (William), Mrs. Lottie Leahy (Frank), Mrs. Florence Duggan (John), Mrs. Jennie Maltus (Mickel), Mrs. Honora Hennessy (Walter), Mrs. Mary Killeen (Frank), Mrs. Elizabeth Broderick (William), and Mrs. Florence Lynch, Mrs. Albert H. Tracey, William J. Spruin and George Spruin – heirs of John Spruin; and problems with the water supply to relief houses on the Common.

October 2, 1918

Meeting between G. Fred Pearson, representing the Massachusetts Halifax Relief Commission, and the Board of Control to discuss expenditures to improve the public health conditions in Halifax.

October 8, 1918

Topics include repairs and repainting expenses for City Hall; letter from G.F. Pearson, Chairman Massachusetts Halifax Relief Commission; account with American LaFrance Fire Engine Company for fire engine “Patricia,” and discussion of the Town Planning Act.

October 10, 1918

Topics include rubbish deposited and left on streets by the Relief Commission; and discussion for arrangements relating to Massachusetts Governor McCall’s visit to Halifax.

October 15, 1918

Topics include American LaFrance Fire Engine Co. accounts for fire engines “Patricia” and “Chebucto” and letter of donation to the firemen and their families who were killed or injured by the Explosion; and loans from the Relief Commission.

October 17, 1918

Topics include Relief Commission loans for school building repairs and fire engines; and costs relating to City Water Services due to the Explosion.

October 18, 1918

Explosion – Loans from Relief Commission are discussed.

October 22, 1918

Topics discussed include repairs to Oxford School, painting City Hall, and taxes on damaged properties.

October 29, 1918

Topics include a letter from Policeman David C. Wilson who was injured in the Explosion requesting relief help; and building plans and town planning with the Halifax Reconstruction Committee.

November 5, 1918

Topics include repairs to City Hall.

November 8, 1918

Civic Address to Governor McCall of Massachusetts and Governor’s reply

November 14, 1918

Topics include repairs to school buildings and City buildings repairs.

November 19, 1918

Topics include thanks from Governor McCall of Massachusetts; application from Fireman William Wells for relief; and repainting of fire stations.

November 21, 1918

Topics include letter from William Wells, requesting the Board act on his behalf with the Relief Commission; and offer from C.A. Leverman to do the repairs to the furniture in the City Hall.

November 26, 1918

Topics include street cleaning on Explosion debris and rubbish.

November 29, 1918

Topics include water supplies for temporary dwellings on the Citadel and South Common.

December 3, 1918

Topics include disbursement of gratuities to firemen and their dependents from the donation of $1500 from the American LaFrance Fire Engine Co.; Town Planning Act; and correspondence between Mayor Hawkins and the Boston City Clerk re: Massachusetts-Halifax Relief Committee.

December 5, 1918

Topics include rental of Market Building by Relief Commission and repainting fire stations.

December 10, 1918

Topics include damages to City buildings including money spent on the City Market, the Smallpox Hospital, and the Isolation Hospital; and painting of the fire stations.

December 12, 1918

Topics include water supply for temporary buildings on the South Common; town planning; loan of $132,665.90 from the Relief Commission; rental of Market Building by the Relief Commission; and repairs to school buildings.

December 17, 1918

Topics include interest on loans from the Relief Commission, and the painting of West Street Engine House.

December 24, 1918

Topics include account with Longard’s Limited for repairs to the heating apparatus in the City Market Building; and report from H.W. Johnston, Assistant City Engineer re: appraisal of damages to schools;

December 26, 1918

Topics include interest on loans from the Relief Commission; rental of Market Building by the Relief Commission; and fire damage to the temporary houses on the Western side of the Citadel.

December 30, 1918

Special meeting between the Board of Control and the Relief Commission re: interest on bonds and loans from the Commission.

January 14, 1919

Topics include request for assessment of City property damaged by the Explosion and the riot of 1918 and repairs still needed; request from the Board of School Commissioners for $30,000 loan for Explosion related repairs; correspondence between the City Clerk and the Relief Commission, and a letter to the Acting Prime Minister, Sir Thomas White, re: reparation from the government for Explosion damage.

January 21, 1919

Topics include loans from Relief Commission for repairs to schools and City property.

January 28, 1919

Topics include letter from Thomas White, Acting Prime Minister, acknowledging City’s request for full reparation.

January 29, 1919

Topics include City Health Board accounts from July/August 1918 passed for payment by Relief Commission.

January 30, 1919

Topics include Explosion refuse on Gottingen Street; request of Frank Hanrahan, Chief of Police, for pension for David C.L. Wilson, policeman who was injured in the Explosion and rendered unable to work; City Health Board accounts re: Relief Commission patients at the Smallpox Hospital.

February 4, 1919

Topics include loan from Relief Commission of $33,300 for repairs to City property and schools.

February 6, 1919

Topics include assessment of damage on City property caused by the Explosion and the Riot of May 25th 1918 from the City Engineer, discussion of dividing loan from Relief Commission to cover costs; sale of motor trucks by the Relief Commission; policeman David C. Wilson appears before the Board to discuss his injuries and request for pension.

February 11, 1919

Topics include payment of accounts for repairs to schools.

February 12, 1919

Topics include Explosion repairs to public schools.

February 13, 1919

Topics include payment for accounts relating to repainting City Hall and school building repairs.

February 18, 1919

Topics include public school repairs and letter from Town Planning Board.

February 25, 1919

Topics include a dangerous dilapidated building damaged by the Explosion on Islesville and Almon Streets; report regarding purchasing land on Robie/Bloomfield/Agricola for the rebuilding of the  Bloomfield Common School, which was destroyed in the Explosion

March 4, 1919

Topics include a letter from the Department of Marine re: Harbour Regulations which cover by-laws regarding the loading and handling of explosives in harbours.

March 11, 1919

Topics include request for loan from Board of School Commissioners for repairs to school buildings; St. Joseph’s, Brunswick St., which were damaged in the Explosion; plans for Bloomfield Common School, St. Joseph’s School, and Richmond School, which were destroyed in the Explosion.

March 13, 1919

Topics include letter from Board of School Commissioners regarding debentures from the City to purchase land for the Bloomfield Common School.

March 20, 1919

Topics include town planning; Bloomfield, Richmond, and St. Joseph’s Schools plans and loans

March 25, 1919

Special meeting with the Board of Control and G. Fred Pearson of the Halifax-Massachusetts Relief Committee.

March 25, 1919

Topics include plans for Bloomfield, St. Joseph’s, and Richmond schools and sum requested from the Relief Commission; lack of housing accommodation, to confer with Relief Commission; correspondence between Mayor and Chief Justice of Nova Scotia re: inquiry into Explosion; plans for St. Patrick’s Boys’ School; request to Premier of Nova Scotia re: loan from Relief Commission for $100,000.

March 25, 1919

Topics include deficit of Provincial Exhibition as part of City’s claim against Explosion damages.

April 1, 1919

Topics include dilapidated buildings on 7 Longard Rd. owned by Mr. Butler and 5 Almon St. owned by Mrs Thomas Pearson and Mr. Case.

April 10, 1919

Topics include repairs to schools and City property; letter from Relief Commission re: housing conditions

April 15, 1919

Topics include Massachusetts-Halifax Relief Committee re: City Medical Officer

April 17, 1919

Topics include request from Board of School Commissioners for loan for repairs; issue of bonds for repairs to the Court House and Jail to repair Explosion damages.

May 8, 1919

Topics include the Massachusetts-Halifax Relief Commission and the act of incorporation of the Massachusetts-Halifax Health Commission

May 14, 1918

Special meeting with the Board of Control, Assistant Building Inspector W.R. Fegan, Relief Commission Chairman T.S. Rogers, Judge Wallace, and M. McF. Hall Manager of Housing Department of the Relief Commission to discuss the housing conditions in Halifax and the Mewburn Buildings, the military hutments on the North Common. Rogers disagrees that this is an issue for the consideration of the Relief Commission.

May 20, 1919

Topics include a letter from D.G. Stewart requesting payment on outstanding balance of $4937.35 relating to Explosion related expenses.

May 31, 1919

Topics include payment for Explosion repairs to City Hall’s roof.



Summary of City of Halifax Annual Reports (102-1I):

Click on "report type" to view excerpts from that report related to the Halifax Explosion;





City Auditor

  • City finances are “in such a state on account of the explosion of December 6th” but hopeful this is temporary and the Halifax Relief Commission will take care of the expenses incurred
  • Rest of report summarizes finances of the City

City Prison

  • Damage to the City Prison, the fence surrounding the Prison yard, and the concrete walk, caused by the Explosion; temporary and permanent work has been carried out in order to repair damage

City Home

  • Discusses the number of people supported in the City Home, the largest number during the year being on December 6, 1917 when there were 341 people seeking assistance

Citizens’ Free Library

  • Library was closed for a few weeks following the Explosion and used as a food depot

Chief of Police

  • After the Explosion the regular patrolmen worked overtime and were supplemented by “a number of specials… recruited from citizens of all ranks” who assisted the Police department
  • Work of Detective department has increased due to increase in number of non-residents due in part to the War, as well as the Explosion

Fire Department

  • Accidents and Deaths which occurred during the year include the names of the firemen who were injured during the Explosion – John Hennessy, Joseph Johnston, William Wells, Frank Leahy (who later died from his injuries) – and those who died – Chief Edward P. Condon, Assistant Chief William P. Brunt, Hosemen Frank Killeen and Mickel Maltus, Captain William T. Broderick, Hosemen Walter Hennessy and John Duggan (missing, body never recovered)


City Auditor

  • pp. 27-8: Briefly acknowledges the work the Relief Commission is doing for Halifax, as well as the “sympathy and monetary relief extended us by the world” following the Explosion
  • p.108c: Relief Commission – Schools Accounts – statement of receipts and expenditure on schools

Citizen’s Free Library

  • Mentions the interruption to the Library’s work caused by the Explosion and then the influenza epidemic which caused the library to shut down for a portion of the year


City Auditor

  • p.27 – expecting settlement from Relief Commission; Housing Commission has built 50 houses, at an expenditure of $200,000 with $300,000 more expected due to the housing shortage within the City
  • p.35 – bonds of $565,000 for the Halifax Relief Commission for cash advanced to the City
  • p.121 – Relief Commission, Schools Account

*Note: The Halifax Municipal Archives does not currently have a copy of the Halifax City Report 1918-1919. The Nova Scotia Archives, where this research and scans were compiled, has a copy on microfilm that is accessible to researchers.




Summary of Halifax Relief Commission Advisory Committee meeting topics with links to digitized copies of the minutes (102-1Gv.3):

Click on the meeting date to view digitized copies of the minutes.




Chairman Rogers outlines Relief Commission’s work thus far, plans for redevelopment and distribution of relief, and commitment to work with City.  Discussion re: who will pay for what in rebuilding houses and compensation; the effectiveness of the Appraisal Board; accusation that the Commission be liable for the Reconstruction men being the source of smallpox epidemic; which areas will be considered part of the devastated area for compensation and rebuilding; back and forth about loans and payments.


Fire protection of temporary buildings on Common and Exhibition Grounds; compensation for particular individuals including Fireman Wells; north end residents Carvery and Howe (insinuation that compensation denied because of race); possibility of appealing Appraisal Board decisions; adequacy of temporary shelters if housing not built by winter; concern about speed of re-building; concern about increase in taxes if re-built house better than previous house; concern that residents will leave the City if houses not available soon.


Loans from Commission to pay Explosion accounts, especially for schools, the Infectious Diseases Hospital, the Market Building;  who will pay for rebuilding what; delay in re-building Infectious Disease Hospital; case of compensation to Beatrice Harrington;  extension of Young Street into Hennessey property; authority of the City to purchase property in devastated area; railway siding through Incinerator property; garbage removal from temporary shelters; compensation to injured policeman D.C. Wilson; loan for $15,000 from the Commission to the City to be issued.


Discussion of  the Hennessey Field Property and planning scheme; discussion of name of North Creighton St./Isleville St.; authority of Commission for town planning and rebuilding in the devastated area and how they work with the Town Planning Board; compensation for William Wells, fireman on the “Patricia” fire engine; extension of Duffus Street by the Commission.


Newspaper clipping from the Acadian Recorder. Chairman Rogers appeals for united action in assisting in the housing problem. Discusses the labour shortage, reconstruction plans, and efforts to ensure that people have comfortable places to live prior to winter. [Acadian Recorder, 1918-09-10].


Discussions of many contentious issues including debris being left for long periods of time on streets by contractors working for the Commission; plastering new houses; loan for the “Chebucto” fire engine; the quality of houses being built (discussion of relief efforts, law suits, assessments); loans to the City; constructing sewers on Union St.; debate over construction of the work done to the home of the Secretary of the Commission, Ralph Bell, and whether it was fairly paid for.


Pension and compensation for Fireman Wells and Policeman Wilson, both of whom were injured in the Explosion and unable to work. Also discussed the application of the School Board for $50,000 loan from the Commission for Explosion repairs; loan for the City of $50,000; the Smallpox Hospital and the Infectious Diseases Hospital; outstanding repairs, and reconstruction projects including to the City Home, the Hazelwood Sanitarium, and to Agricola St.


Loans for repairs to schools and City buildings; terms of loans and settlements; purchasing of trucks from the Commission by the City; issue of Gottingen St. and Fort Needham referred to Commission and City Engineering Departments to discuss.


Describes grievances of James Leitch, whose property (facing Roome, Duffus, and School Streets) was destroyed by both the Explosion and the reconstruction efforts; Mayor to arrange meeting between Relief Commission and Relief Committee to discuss.


Discussion about solution for James Leitch whose property was destroyed in the Explosion and the reconstruction efforts. Discussion about the state of temporary relief houses on the Exhibition Grounds, the Common, and Citadel and the people who live in them; street work in Richmond Heights; employment policy of the Commission; garbage collection in devastated area; policing and street lighting in the areas damaged by Explosion; and discussion about the condition of temporary buildings put up as a result of the Explosion and the City’s authority in removing them.



Summary of Special Committe Investigating Liquor Theft at City Hall meeting topics with links to digitized copies of the minutes (102-1Gv.3):

Click on the meeting date to view digitized copies of the minutes.



January 18th, 1918

  • Initial letter from Liquor Inspector, Edwin S. Tracey, discussing the thefts of cases of liquor from his office on the nights of December 7, 8, 9, 29, and 30, 1917
  • pp.56-66: F.H. Bell, City Solicitor, interviews Inspector Tracey
  • pp.60-61: mentions the state of City Hall after the Explosion, particularly the damages done to the offices (broken glass and doors) and how offices where taken over by committees of the Relief Commission (eg. Library was used for food distribution)
  • p.65-66:Alderman H.S. Colwell, Deputy Mayor, is interviewed
  • p.65-66: Colwell discusses the condition of City Hall after the Explosion and the people who were present
  • p.67-68: Members of Council are asked questions
  • p.68-69: R.H. Murray, solicitor for Inspector Tracey, interviews Tracey

February 12th, 1918

  • Two letters were received from the Social Service Council (102-1B.25.197) requesting the case be investigated by a County Court Judge
  • City Solicitor questions D.J. McLean, Superintendent of the Water Department; Ex-Alderman Isnor; Robert Theakson, City Collector; P.R. Colpitt, City Electrician; A.F. Messervey, Clerk of Works; W.W. Foster, City Auditor; J.J. Hopewell, City Treasurer; P.J. McManus, City Assessor; L.F. Monaghan, City Clerk; Mc.F. Hall, Manager, Provincial Exhibition Commission; Controller J.J. Hines; Controller A.J. Finlay; Controller J.T. Murphy; Controller G.H. Taylor; H.W. Johnston, Acting City Engineer; Frank Hanrahan, Chief of Police; Clarence Northover, Deputy Chief of Police; Clarence Johnson, Police Officer; Horace Kennedy, Detective; Michael Lawless, Driver of Patrol Wagon; George E. Mullaley, Police Officer; Inspector Tracey
  • P.89: Controller Murphy discusses which offices were used for which committees
  • P.92: Controller Taylor discusses his actions immediately following the Explosion

July 11th, 1918

  • Inquiry re: disappearance of liquor from Inspector Tracey’s office in City Hall on Tuesday, July 9th 1918.



Dartmouth Council meeting topics with links to digitized copies of the minutes (101-1A):

Click on the meeting date to view digitized copies of the minutes.




  • Letter from the Eastern Trust Co. re. liability of Fire Underwriters advises that all proofs of loss for damage to property caused by the Explosion must be prepared and delivered as soon as possible.
  • Letter from C.H. Harvey, recommends that the Town place community compensation claims for property losses caused by the Explosion before the Allies promptly. Action on the letter is referred to the Joint Committee of the City Board of Control and the Town Council.
  • The Town Council agrees to meet in committee with the Assessors to determine what action should be taken regarding the Explosion.
  • Motion to meet with the Mayor of Halifax and Dominion Cabinet Ministers to discuss compensation for damage caused by the Explosion.


  • Council resolves that the Dominion Government needs to further investigate the causes of the Explosion and what can be done to prevent a similar event occurring.
  • Councillor Herman is appointed to meet with the Halifax Board of Control and Dominion Cabinet Ministers in Halifax to discuss the disaster.
  • Letter from the Governor-General re. Explosion.
  • Repairs authorized for the Town Hall through the Public Property Committee.


  • W.N. Forbes, Plumbing Inspector, to meet with the Water Committee and the Superintendent to discuss the plumbing in the temporary houses being built for the Relief Committee.
  • The Mayor, Town Solicitor Foster, and Councillor Tobin, form a committee to draft a letter to Prime Minister Borden, re. reparation to owners of damaged property caused by the “Great Explosion.”
  • Council resolves to send A.C. Pettipas, on behalf of J.A. Edwards of John St., whose house was damaged by the Explosion, an order of oil-cloth, and which will be billed to the Relief Committee.


  • Committee consisting of the present Council – Mayor Williams, Councillors Mosher, Tobin, Carter, and MacLean, and Town Solicitor Foster – is appointed to conduct an Assessment to determine the loss of “real and personal property in the Town of Dartmouth caused by the Explosion…”
  • Letter from A.C. Pettipas prompts a resolution that the Town Clerk write to the Executive of the Relief Committee and request an interview with the Mayor and the Council to discuss opening a Supply Depot in the North End.


  • Re. Property Assessment of 1918:
    • Assessors to make appraisal of damage done to real and personal property and to report to Council
    • Three builders to be employed to assist the Assessors
    • Mayor and Finance Committee to arrange remuneration for their services
  • Letter from J. Wilton, Mayor of Dartmouth, England, dated December 19, 1917, to express his sympathies to the Town regarding the Explosion.
  • A.C. Johnston, Chairman Dartmouth Relief Committee, states that the Committee unanimously decided against establishing a Relief Depot in the North End of Town.


  • Joint meeting with the Town Council and the Dartmouth Board of Trade to consider the recent disaster and “the probability of other accidents occurring owing to the inefficient administration of the Harbor and Pilotage Regulations.”
  • A resolution, proposed by Chairman Graham of the Board of Trade, stated:
    • Dartmouth Town Council and the Dartmouth Board of Trade request an appointment of a “competent official to control Halifax Harbor traffic” in light of the negligence that lead to the disaster, as well as a near miss of another munition ship since.
    • Resolution was passed unanimously by the Council.
    • Copies were wired to the Prime Minister and the County Members, Honorable A.K. McLean and Peter F. Martin.


  • Members of the Halifax Relief Commission were present and suggested collaboration between the two groups.
  • Council appoints Councillors Mosher, Lynch, and Tobin to a committee to act as advisors to the Commission.


  • Council prepares a notice to be published in the newspapers that urge Dartmouth residents to conserve water, despite the conditions in many dwellings caused by the Explosion.
  • The Dartmouth Manufacturing Company gifts the “Gun” from the S.S. Mont Blanc that was cast onto their land with the blast from the Explosion.


  • Discussion of Assessment Act relating to Appeals made by ratepayers in relation to the Explosion.


  • Mayor to arrange a meeting with the Dartmouth Relief Commission to discuss repairs to the Public Buildings and School Houses which sustained damage during the Explosion.


  • Residents of the North End of Dartmouth are present at the meeting to discuss the condition of the woodland between Windmill Rd. and the Harbour, which was destroyed by a fire on 3 June 1918. The Explosion uprooted all of the trees in this location, which is now a fire hazard. A fire on 3 June spread to a nearby house, owned by George T. DeYoung, who, in a letter, urges Council to take immediate action. Council resolves to notify all landowners to remove fallen trees within ten days.


  • The McDonald Construction Co., Ltd. submits an estimate of the damage caused to all Town Buildings and Schools by the Explosion.


  • The Clerk is asked to arrange a meeting with the Halifax Relief Commission for an update on damage to property due to the Explosion.


  • Repairs needed to the Engine House, caused by the Explosion; referred to the Mayor and the Public Property Committee.
  • Public Property Committee report that C.A. Biard & Son successfully bid $395 to complete repairs to the plaster in Town Hall which was damaged by the Explosion.


  • Dartmouth School Board asks the Town Council for $4,563.74 to pay off the School’s Explosion Account.


  • Council grants Mr. A.C. Johnston, ex-Chairman of the Dartmouth Relief Commission, the gun which was blown from the Mont Blanc during the Explosion.


  • Notice of motion from Alderman Woods regarding the moving of the Mont Blanc cannon to the north end-Albro Lake proposed Golden Acres Park.


  • Motion to move the cannon, which was hurled from the Mont Blanc during the Explosion, from Wyse Rd. to the north end where it would have initially landed. Motion is carried to move the canon to the Golden Acres Parkland in Albro Lake, once the park is deeded to the City.


  • Mr. Gosley gives a presentation to Council discussing the impact of the Explosion on Dartmouth and encourages Council to consider the upcoming 75th anniversary.


  • Alderman Woods advises the Mayor that a Micmac [sic] [Mi’kmaq] community member should be on the planning committee for the 75th anniversary of the Explosion.


  • The Heritage Advisory Committee proposes that a special committee be formed to work on the 75th anniversary of the Explosion.


  • Council recommends approval of “The Spirit Swings,” a commemorative sculpture by Theresa MacPhee for the “MicMac Village” [Mi’kmaq] that was destroyed by the Explosion. The sculpture is to be on or near Yetter Park on Windmill Rd.


  • Discussion of permits for special events, including the re-enactment of the Explosion, before they take place in public areas



Town of Dartmouth Annual Reports (101-1M):

Click on "Section" to view excerpts from that report related to the Halifax Explosion:





Mayor’s Report

  • Addresses the losses and damages caused by the Explosion
  • States that the Dominion Government has appointed a Commission to “take up the whole matter of rehabilitating and restitution to all those who have suffered”


Fire Committee

  • Fires in the North End caused by the Explosion completely destroyed three houses owned by Owen Sawler of Pelzant St., George Smith and E.R. Wright of Windmill Rd


Committee on Charities

  • Two women were admitted to the Nova Scotia Hospital as a result of the Explosion


Water and Sewerage Committee

  • Discussion of the damage to properties caused by the Explosion which has allowed frost to enter buildings and freeze water pipes


Health Officer

  • A relief hospital was opened at the Parker house for contagious diseases in order to halt an epidemic caused by housing conditions after the Explosion. Recommends acquiring the property as a full-time hospital for both infectious diseases and general health services.


Board of School Commissioners

  • The Explosion destroyed all but two school buildings, which “will compel the new Board to provide School accommodation for at least sixteen new departments [rooms]” of which fourteen will be at Greenvale and Hawthorne schools. The Assembly Hall accounts for an additional two departments. Previous to the Explosion, there were thirty departments.


School Medical Inspector

  • Inspections of the schools were “rudely interrupted” by the Explosion, although most had already been completed.
  • The Explosion also caused many families to be scattered and therefore school visits by the nurse were interfered.


Park Commission

  • Interruptions to plans to sell land because of the Explosion.


Mayor’s Report

  • p. 4 – Financial statement discusses that the Liabilities of the Town exceed the Assets because of expenditures related to the Explosion
  • States the cost of the damage to Town Buildings and Schools as filed with the Halifax Relief Commission
  • p.5 – states that none of the relief money has yet been received by the Town, waiting for the Commission to make a settlement
  • Influenza epidemic and Smallpox throughout Dartmouth caused by the Explosion and resulting costs considerable


Finance Committee

  • Finance report shows liabilities, including “Explosion Account” and “extraordinary expenditures and accounts” due to the Explosion


Streets and Public Property Committee

  • Discussion of the work conducted on streets and of trouble with the water supply due to the Explosion


Water and Sewerage Committee

  • Leaks found in main pipes, caused by the Explosion


Health Officer

  • Discussion of the health conditions of Dartmouth residents affected by the Explosion and the subsequent living conditions, such as overcrowding in houses. A relief hospital for infectious diseases was opened which helped to curb the spread of diphtheria. There were many smallpox cases brought by workmen who came to help with relief efforts.
  • Recommends garbage collection to curb disease, especially in the severely damaged north end



  • p. 39 – “Explosion Account” lists receipts and expenditure
  • p. 43 – “Statement of Assets and Liabilities of the Town of Dartmouth” shows assets and liabilities, including those relating to the “Explosion Account”


School Commissioner

  • The School Supervisor Mr. W.C. Stapleton discusses the effects of the Explosion on the schools, including:
    • Central, Park, and Victoria Schools were destroyed
    • the Influenza epidemic shut down the Greenvale and Hawthorne Schools for six weeks and continued to affect attendance afterwards
    • “many of the cleverer students” left school permanently following the Explosion and subsequent epidemic
    • younger children in the north end could not attend school at all because there were none near their homes
    • schools were closed following the Explosion from Dec. 6th to Feb. 10th



  • Documents ferry Explosion damage at $16,470, which was filed with the Halifax Relief Commission


Finance Committee

  • $15,000 received from the Halifax Relief Commission for Explosion claims


Auditor’s Report

  • p.37 – expenses relating to repairs to public property caused by the Explosion
  • p.47 – details on the “Explosion Account”



City Clerk's Office subject and historical reference files (102-5-1)

The City Clerk’s Office subject files and historical reference files are a rich information source on many events and topics, including some related to the Halifax Explosion:

Summary of files with links to digitized copies:

Retrieval Code File title and dates Summary
102-5-1-39 Halifax Explosion and Related Material, 1918-1992 News clippings (1992, 1977 predominate); Letters from Explosion survivors E.T. Davies, West Wales (1973) and D.L. Vasbinder, CA. U.S.A (1976); Readers Digest article, 1977; Brochure unveiling Memorial Bells design, Fort Needham; Copy of report of the Halifax Relief Commission to City Council, June 1918. Personal information removed











Halifax Relief Commission, 1923-1981


File consists of originals and copies of reports, news clippings and correspondence related to the City's interactions with the Halifax Relief Commission. Includes documentation of the City's claims for compensation, disputes over those claims, efforts by the City on behalf of Explosion survivors to receive benefits from the Halifax Relief Commission Pension, disputes over Commission Lands and the winding up of the Commission.

Note that the names and addresses of individuals seeking benefits have been blacked out of the digital copy of the file available here.



Fort Needham Park Commission file, 1948-1949

Fort Needham Park Commission was established in 1948 to determine what should be done with the Fort Needham lands.  Oct. 27, 1948, Mayor Ahern suggested at a Council meeting that Fort Needham could be levelled to provide a subdivision for additional housing.

 The Commission was chaired by the Mayor, and members included Reverend B.R. Tupper (minister of United Memorial Church), Reverend Canon Clark, Monsignor Charles Curran, Mr. Owen N. Lane, Mr. A.A. Robertson, Alderman R.V. Sullivan replaced by Alderman Walker.  They may not have had further meetings, as the Halifax Relief Commission, once committed to creating a memorial, essentially took over the Fort Needham Park improvements project, and simply told the City of Halifax what had been decided for the Park (see City of Halifax Council minutes for August 11, 1949).

File includes:

  • Newspaper coverage, and correspondence received by the Commission re. plans to improve Fort Needham Park and develop a memorial to the Halifax Explosion, paid for by the Halifax Relief Commission.
  • Meeting minutes of the Fort Needham Park Commission, Nov. 29, 1948 (first meeting) and May 18,1949.

Other minutes from the Fort Needham Park Commission are not known to be available elsewhere.





(note personal information has been removed from the digitized copies of this file)

Special Committee Memorial Service 50th and 51st Anniversary of Halifax Explosion, 1967-68

File includes:

  • Invitations to the 51st Anniversary to various people from R.H. Stoddard, City Clerk, dated November 27, 1968
  • Program for 51st Anniversary held at Saint Joseph’s Jr. High School
  • Public notice of the 51st Anniversary memorial service sent to the Chronicle Herald and the Mail Star
  • Correspondence from City Clerk, Deputy Clerk, and Secretary to and from constituents relating to the 50th Anniversary memorial service
  • Correspondence from N.P. Meagher, Deputy Mayor and Chairman of the Special Committee Memorial Service for 50th Anniversary
  • Special Committee meeting minutes – November 24, 1967 and December 1, 1967 (handwritten and typed)
  • Public notice of 50th Anniversary memorial service
  • List of invitation recipients



Committee on Public Parks, Gardens and Commons records (102-7)

The Public Gardens and the Halifax Common sustained considerable damage from the Explosion, as detailed in the minutes of the Board of Commissioners of Halifax Common, and reports of the Superintendent. Minutes have not yet been digitized. Contact the Archives to request copies or to view the originals. Click on the underlined date to view copies of submissions



Summary of Contents


May 20, 1918


  • Superintendent Richard L. Power reports on damage done by the explosion.
  • Request for Report of Damages and Repair Estimate from City Engineer.
  • Superintendent authorized to order seats required for the City Gardens

Board of Commissioners of Halifax Common

May 20,1918


Report on damage done by the Explosion


May 21, 1918


Estimates Detailing a Five Year Repair Estimate for Damages due to Explosion.

City Engineer

June 25, 1918


  • A report by City Engineer Johnston, of damage to property in Gardens caused by the Explosion.
  • Secretary and Engineer to advertise for necessary repairs to the property.
  • Request to notify school board that the Commission cannot supply plants due to the Explosion.

Board of Commissioners of Halifax Common



 Specifications about work to be done to repair damage to buildings at the Public Gardens caused by the Explosion.

City Engineer

June 26, 1918


Letter to Chairman, Board of School Commissioners - notification that the Commissioners of the Halifax Common will be unable to supply plants to the School Board due to the Explosion.


August 7, 1918


The Board of Control has made a contract to have necessary repairs made to Public Garden due to Explosion

Board of Commissioners of Halifax Common

Sept. 3 1918


Superintendent Power Report on Repairs done since Explosion and work to be done because of the explosion.

Board of Commissioners of Halifax Common



Report of work done and summary of work to be done




Request for necessary items, due to the Explosion, that cannot be attained with current budget


Jan. 9, 1919


Budget and Details for Repairs and Improvements for 1919-1920 approved. Superintendent Power granted budget for repair work.

Board of Commissioners of Halifax Common



Summary of Explosion-related topics in Town Planning Board minutes (102-40):

Minutes have not yet been digitized. Contact the Archives to request copies or to view the originals.



December 17, 1917

  • Town Planning in relation to the Explosion
  • Prospective appointment of a Commission for reconstruction of devastated portion of City (talk of involvement of Halifax Town Planning Board and Town Planning Advisor Commission of Conservation)
  • Resolution passed: “In view of the recent disaster, RESOLVED that this Board proceed as rapidly as possible with the collection of data for the preparation of a Town Planning Scheme for the City of Halifax, and that the Commission of Conservation be asked to permit Mr. Thomas Adams to give his undivided attention to this matter”

February 11, 1918

  • Secretary instructed to coordinate a conference between the Board and the Halifax Relief Commission to discuss planning of the devastated area
  • Request maps from Commissioner of Works and Mines and the Nova Scotia Board of Fire Underwriters

February 20, 1918

  • Motion to give notice of Board’s intention to apply to the Commissioner of Works and Mines for authority to prepare a town planning scheme
  • Motion to apply for a grant of $500 from the Board of Control and City Council to begin preparing the scheme
  • No reply from Relief Commission, motion to arrange a conference passed


  • Notice that the Board intends to apply to the Commissioner of Public Works and Mines for authority to prepare a Town Planning Scheme no.1 in the devastated area

March 1, 1918

  • Notice to be published March 4, 1918 in the Evening Mail and the Daily Echo
  • Board’s committee met with the Relief Commission to begin work co-operatively
  • Mr. Adams appointed consultant to the Town Planning Board to work with Mr. Johnston, Acting City Engineer, to prepare the scheme

May 23, 1918

  • Motion passed for application to the Commissioner of Works and Mines for authority to prepare a Town Planning Scheme excluding any lands declared by the Relief Commission as the devastated area

June 18, 1918

  • Application not yet sent, motion passed to exclude mention of the devastated area

July 26, 1918

  • Major F.W.W. Doane, City Engineer, appointed Executive Officer of the Board
  • City Solicitor appointed Board Solicitor
  • “Resolution delegating authority to executive officer” is passed

November 8, 1918

  • Commissioner of Public Works and Mines authorizes the Board to prepare no.1 town planning scheme
  • Resolution for application for authority to prepare scheme no.2


  • “Nova Scotia Town Planning Act, 1915 – City of Halifax – Town Planning Scheme No. 2” notice to be published

December 9, 1920

  • Mention of a Relief Commission Scheme, which could not be included in the Halifax Scheme

December 21, 1921

  • Letter from Pickings and Rolland with a copy of the proposed scheme for the devastated area and notice to the Board that the plan for the district was ready and to be submitted to the Commissioner for approval



Summary of Halifax Board of School Commissioner minutes (102-53-2):

Minutes have not yet been digitized. Contact the Archives to request copies or to view the originals.



December 17,1917

  • reopening of schools
  • saving school property
  • teachers injured by Explosion
  • transportation of children to operational schools
  • deputation, and condition of building fabric

December 28, 1917

  • Free transportation of school children
  • Richmond School-new addition
  • Alexander Mc Kay School
  • examination of schools
  • estimated cost of repairs
  • Funding
  • use of schools by Reconstruction Relief Committee
  • Africville, Alexandra, St. Patricks’ Boys’ School

January 11, 1918

  • Report of the Committee on School Sites
  • reopening of schools
  • transportation of school children
  • reference to specific schools include: College St. School, Bloomfield, Chebucto, and Joseph Howe Schools
  • Chairman’s Report regarding repairs to school buildings
  • Explosion repair accounts $850.58
  • construction accounts $3828

January 14, 1918

  • Coal shortage- worry that school should not open
  • Letters from concerned Board of Control, the Relief Committee, and Hon. R.G. Beazley, Fuel Controller, addressed at meeting
  • Board of School Commissioners decide schools to remain open until shortage occurs.

January 31, 1918

  • Repairs to schools
  • letters proposing that Morris St. School be used as a place for relief work

February 27, 1918

  • Committee on Finance-Explosion accounts $10846.17
  • temporary repair work on various schools a success
  • temporary relocation of classes until repairs made/schools built
  • letter addressing donation from the school children of Chicago ($3000, $1000 for books, $2000 to Blind Relief)*

March 4, 1918

  • Additional loan for repairs to Bloomfield High School

April 4, 1918

  • Committee on School Sites and Buildings -Explosion accounts $10212.92
  • Discussion of portable school houses
  • Representative of Teachers Union thanks the Board for increase in wages and their promptness in making school buildings fit again for teaching, resuming classes

April 18, 1918

  • Adjusting of losses on the Alex McKay and Richmond School buildings and the speedy completion of the Alex McKay

April 24, 1918

  • Alexander McKay School repairs

May 3, 1918

  • Explosion accounts $5305.48
  • Committee on Teachers-appointments and relocation
  • portable school houses have arrived and soon will be set up

May 10, 1918

  • Discussion on insurance rebate on buildings not totally destroyed
  • cleaning of school grounds (Chebucto School)
  • children at Exhibition Grounds

May 30, 1918

  • Explosion accounts $7038.44
  • insurance rebates for rebuilding/repairs

June 12, 1918

  • Morris St. School-the need for it to resume its original purpose, instead of being a hospital (deadline: Aug 15)

June 26, 1918

  • Committee on School Sites and Buildings  

July 5, 1918

  • Committee on School Sites and Buildings  
  • School Nurses Yearly Report (11 children listed killed in Explosion, 249 eye cases, 91 received treatment)
  • Explosion Accounts $12194.11
  • Repairs to Bloomfield High, Chebucto, Joseph Howe, Oxford,  and St. Patricks’ Girls’ High Schools

June 22, 1918

  • Committee on School Sites and Buildings -Oxford School usage (Health Board to Hospital)
  • Morris St. School-removal of hospital in August

September 5, 1918

  • Committee on School Sites and Buildings

October 3, 1918

  • Committee on School Sites and Buildings  and Committee on Finance-Explosion Repair Account $18701
  • Inspection of school buildings by Board
  • Alexander McKay ready by November 1
  • School children with defective eyesight due to Explosion

October 7, 1918

  • Committee on School Sites and Buildings -Plans for Bloomfield St. Joseph’s, St. Patricks’ Boys’ School
  • Alexander McKay School grading of playgrounds
  • Morris St. School garage
  • Oxford School fumigation

October 22, 1918

  • Committee on School Sites and Buildings  -  letter from Chairman to J.P.Quinn, Chairman, Board of School Commissioners regarding rebuilding North End Schools destroyed by Explosion
  • Purchasing building sites for school property
  • Explosion Repair Account-advance of $50000 received for civic and school repairs

October 28, 1918

  • Committee on School Sites and Buildings  *Report to Halifax Relief Commission-Explosion Repair Account “The Chairman read reports of Explosion repairs on Schools, estimate of cost of Bloomfield  High, Chebucto, Joseph Howe, Oxford and St. Patricks’ Girls’ High Schools, teachers personal and school property losses, furniture and its replacement, new buildings, with estimated total of $785 324.61. Stating that a copy of this estimate had been sent to the Chairman of the Halifax Relief Commission. This amount ($785 324.61) comes within four thousand dollars of the estimate made right after the Explosion.”
  • Plans for building locations/land/rebuilding schools

October 31, 1918

  • Report of the Committee on Finance-Explosion Account $9193.55
  • Cre of partially blind victims of Explosion
  • St. Patricks’ Boys’  School plans
  • List of unfinished work

December 4, 1918

  • Care of the Partially Blind*, “the Committee(?) recommends the payment of Explosion accounts amounting to … $4854.48”

December 9, 1918

  • Committee on School Sites and Buildings -report on school repairs and building

January 9, 1919

  • Committee on School Sites and Buildings - report on school repairs and building,
  • Explosion account $1725.99, Contracts $475.00, Construction accounts $8437.01

January 30, 1919

  • Committee on School Sites and Buildings -Explosion accounts $1931.10, 5 schools $29095.47, Construction accounts $11761.48
  • Options for site of Bloomfield School

February 17, 1919

  • Richmond School plans
  • Bloomfield School-lot for building
  • Payment Alex McKay School
  • Approval of plans for Bloomfield, Richmond, and St. Josephs School

February 27, 1919

  • Construction accounts $12630.60
  • Explosion accounts $1527.54
  • 5 schools $44220.18

March 3, 1919

  • Committee on School Sites and Buildings

March 17, 1919

  • Committee on School Sites and Buildings -plans St. Patricks’ Boys’ School, Bloomfield, St. Joseph’s and Richmond Schools

April 3, 1919

  • Construction accounts $6735.78
  • Explosion accounts  $608.73
  • Explosion accounts (5 schools) $11186.77
  • Special Explosion account $2250.00

April 9, 1919

  • Richmond School addition*

May 1, 1919

  • Construction accounts-W.T. Harris (?) $1196.91
  • Explosion account-5 Schools $31983.97
  • Explosion accounts $340.49
  • Letters-St Patricks’ Boys’ School plans
  • Bloomfield and St. Joseph’s-land
  • Morris St. School-charge for rent to Relief Commission

June 6, 1919

  • Construction accounts $10013.05
  • Explosion accounts $3776.89
  • Explosion 5 Schools accounts $14499.71

July 3, 1919

  • Explosion account-S.M. Brookfield Ltd. $201(?)

September 4, 1919

  • Explosion account $1821.09
  • Explosion Special account $1500
  • Construction account $1840.43
  • Report Re Tenders for New Schools*

September 18, 1919

  • Committee on School Sites and Buildings -reduced estimates for Bloomfield, Richmond, St. Josephs’, and St. Patricks’ Boys’ Schools

October 30. 1919

  • Explosion accounts $2202.74



City Engineer's Office plans related to post-Explosion re-construction, (102-39P)

As the City worked with the Halifax Relief Commission to plan and re-develop the devastated areas many maps, architectural plans and technical drawings were created. Below is a list of maps and plans kept by the Engineering and Works Department that relate to the rebuilding of the North End.

Plans can be viewed at the Municipal Archives. Digital copies and more details re. the plans will be added.

Nova Scotia Archives also holds many plans of the Halifax Relief Commission.



Plan #

Diagram to locate manholes at EXHIBITION PARK - Halifax Explosion






Profile of sewer pipes from Relief Houses AT EXHIBITION PARK - Halifax Explosion


X-10-4089 TO X-10-4092


[CA. 1918]


Halifax Relief - Richmond, cross sections of proposed street layouts in devasted areas - Halifax Explosion



CHAIN LAKES - Plan showing rearrangement of Barracks to accommodate 17 families (barracks) - Halifax Explosion



Site of Military Huts on North Common.    See report of City Engineer.

Military Hospital -[Halifax Explosion?]




[BETWEEN 1915 AND 1925]





CNR -  Plan Of Proposed Siding For Relief Commission



Halifax Relief Commission, Plan of Highfield Division. 



Halifax Relief Commission - Plan Of The The Western Portion  Of Highfield By Pickings



Halifax Relief Commission - Plan Of Western Portion Of Highfield Subdivision BY PICKINGS



Halifax Relief Commission - Block Plan Layout


CC-1-5904 to -5905

Halifax Relief Commission plan of the Hydrostone area



SIDEWALKS - Sidewalk and curb layout to Courts and Streets in devastated area - Halifax Explosion



Halifax Relief Commission - Record Of Sewage System

[CA. 1918]


Plan of Town Planning scheme - Halifax Relief Commission       


Plan and section of by Relief Commission     






PLAN - Halifax Relief Commission - PROPERTY OF MURDOCH JEWERS





GG-6-7957 to -7959

Halifax Relief Commission - Sewage System West Of Gottingen Street.



Halifax Relief Commission plan proposing exchange of lands, Russell to Duffus & Barrington to Isleville Streets.



Town Planning Scheme.  Halifax Relief Commission


NS Provincial Exhibition       Arrangement of relief houses, water and sewer pipes



Halifax Relief Commission Street Paving


AA-6-5190 to -5194

Halifax Relief Commission - Street Paving Profiles



Plan Of Barber Shop For F. Purcell AND LETTER FROM Halifax Relief Commission GIVING PERMISSION TO BUILD



Rosebank Park - Halifax Relief Corporation Ltd.


Plan of Properties in vicinity of City Yard Magazine - TEMPORARY EXPLOSION VICTIM SHELTERS - CAMP HILL HOSPITAL



Plan of Proposed Division of St. Paul's Glebe Lands, referred to in Report to the Town Planning Board - RELATES TO Halifax Explosion



PLAN - Hydrostone Development (southern section) from Young St. To Stanley St. And between Gottingen St. And Isleville Street.  Halifax Relief Commission



Halifax / Hydrostone Development                   Plan of Subdivision ( Southern Section )  Plan by Halifax Relief Commission



Halifax Relief Commission -Shows area between Acadia and Gottingen Streets

[ca. 1941]


PROPERTY OWNED BY THE Halifax Relief Commission

[BETWEEN 1940 AND 1945]


Showing Property Surveyed for Halifax Relief Commission


Roper Plan - area bounded by Robie, Leed's, RAILWAY.  Preparation for subdivision.  Halifax Relief Commission



Plan showing properties owned by Halifax Relief Commission



PLAN - Robie Street proposal for Prefab Houses.  Halifax Relief Commission



Properties surveyed for Halifax Relief Commission.  Surveyed by Charles P. Roper, P.L.S.  (Note:  this is the same plan as MM-5-10074 which was missing from the files at microfilming.  Copies were obtained on this date from the Roper files in the possession of Servant, Dunbrack, mckenzie & macdonald Ltd.)



PLAN - property of Halifax Relief Commission - Civic lot #1613 - BY ROPER



PLAN - Formerly Hartlen Property.  Halifax Relief Commission



Plan showing property of Halifax Relief Commission Civic Lot (1613)  





Halifax Relief Commission Plan showing properties surveyed for the above Roper Plan - APPROVED FEB 9 1953



PLAN - Showing properties surveyed by Roper (revised from July 18th/1946 plan)  Devonshire, Veith Street area.  Halifax Relief Commission



Plan Showing Property Of Halifax Relief Commission - Robie Street [# Assigned By Archives]



PLAN - Property of the Halifax Relief Commission – Robie and Leeds



PLAN - Halifax Relief Commission devastated area showing plan's #1 to 13  [SEE FF-3-10354 TO FF-3-10366]



PLAN - Hartlen Subdivision staked for Halifax Relief Commission BY BATES - APPROVED NOV 29 1949









PLAN - Block "L", pre-fab subdivision Land deeded to City of Halifax from Halifax Relief Commission     Snook Plan



PLAN - subdivision showing lots "A, B, C and D of the Halifax Relief Commission property BY NOLAN



Plan showing land from Halifax Relief Commission to City of Halifax



PLAN - Halifax Relief Commission plan subdivision lots E, F, G, H, and I on Union Street (Nolan Plan) APPROVED APRIL 28 1953



Subdivision Halifax Relief Commission Property on Memorial Dr. (Nolan Plan) not submitted to Town Planning


PLAN - Subdivision Halifax Relief Commission Property on Memorial Dr.   (Nolan Plan) Approved April 8, 1954



PRISON LAND - Plan showing part of Hartlen Property (Halifax Relief Commission) Nolan Plan






Plan, parcel "Z" of the Halifax Relief Commission property



Plan of Parcel Z of Halifax Relief Commission property.  



Plan showing property owned by the Halifax Relief Commission to be conveyed to the City of Halifax.



HalifaxPlan Showing Lands conveyed:  City to William Coughran, Lot A Halifax Relief Commission to City Lot B, street purposes Lot C.



Halifax / North End / Fort Needham    Plan showing lands to form part of license agreement between City of Halifax and Halifax Explosion Memorial Bells Committee.