On Dec. 1, leaders from Nova Scotia joined Boston and MGH officials at the Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation to honor the 99th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion and unveil a campaign for next year’s commemoration called “100 Years, 100 Stories.” The event coincided with Nova Scotia’s annual gift of a Christmas tree to the city of Boston, a beloved tradition since the 1970s.

“From the time Halifax sent Boston the first Christmas tree as a gift of appreciation for our help many years ago, we have shared this tradition that commemorates the holidays and the season of giving,” said Boston Mayor Martin Walsh. “From that time, a bond has grown through generations that we celebrate every year with the gift of this Christmas tree along with the joy of the holidays that we share with our friends from Nova Scotia.”       

On Dec. 6, 1917, the French cargo ship Mont Blanc, laden with explosives, collided with the Belgian relief vessel Imo in Halifax Harbour causing the largest manmade explosion prior to the atomic bomb. The blast killed 2,000 people and left thousands more injured and/or homeless. Within hours, Massachusetts responded. Doctors, nurses and relief workers from across Boston took care of the wounded, and helped the people of Halifax get back on their feet.

“From the time Halifax sent Boston the first Christmas tree as a gift of appreciation for our help many years ago, we have shared this tradition that commemorates the holidays and the season of giving.” -Boston Mayor Martin Walsh.

“The Halifax Explosion forever changed our people and our city,” said Halifax Regional Municipality Mayor Mike Savage. “Out of tragedy came hundreds of stories of bravery, strength and perseverance. We want to tell those stories so our generation and generations to come understand how this moment in history has helped shape who we are today.”

The “100 Years, 100 Stories” campaign will include televised historic vignettes, billboards and social media promotions. “Thanks to the generosity of your forefathers, the Halifax Explosion is part of the shared history between the people of Boston and the people of Nova Scotia,” said the Premier of Nova Scotia, the Honourable Stephen McNeil. “Boston’s caring response in Halifax’s time of need is one of the stories of friendship, survival, resilience and courage that we will celebrate and share next year.”

During the ceremony, McNeil also presented Walsh with two gifts – a handcrafted Nova Scotia crystal and an ornament from a Mi’kmaw artist made out of woven ash. 



Read more articles from the 12/09/16 Hotline issue.