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Anniversaries and Memorials
Every December 6, people from both sides of the harbour remember the Explosion as they gather at the Fort Needham memorial. The memorial is a dramatic skyward sweep of concrete that holds a carillon of bells. Fort Needham is the largest of the memorials to the Explosion in Halifax and Dartmouth.
Every year, at 9:04:35 on December 6, the bells peal through the north end.
Most of the survivors are gone now, but those who are still alive make a special effort to attend. Their children and grandchildren go too, to remember the families they never knew.
The crowds become younger, but they are as large as ever.
Most of the bells at Fort Needham come from the United Memorial Church, founded by Explosion survivors. Barbara Orr donated them in memory of her family. The spire in the church became weakened over a number of years, and for some time the bells sat on the lawn.
In the early 80's a community effort raised money for a special Explosion memorial at the top of Fort Needham.
Barbara Orr, the young girl who lost her whole family in a moment, was an elderly woman when rang the carillon at the new memorial for the first time on June 9, 1985.
Did you Know
Halifax North Memorial Library: Most people think the Halifax North Memorial Library is a memorial to soldiers killed in war. That’s true of many buildings with the word “memorial” in their names…but not of this one.
The library on Gottingen Street, and the sculpture in its front courtyard, are a memorial to victims of the Halifax Explosion.
Page Feature: Malcolm MacLeod's Plan
Historian Malcolm MacLeod is one of those bothered by the way the Halifax Explosion seems to have slipped from Canadians’ memory.
MacLeod is a Halifax-born professor of history at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He has written on several aspects of the Explosion. He also has a daring proposal to raise public awareness of the disaster.
He suggests the city paint lines around the borders of what was called the “Devastated Area,” and continue to call it that—event re-naming an area bus route the “Devastated Area” bus.
What do you think? What is the best way to remember the Halifax Explosion? Email us your suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.