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Halifax rebuilding after the explosion

The Story


Building new homes for the thousands left homeless becomes a major priority for the Halifax Relief Commission. Thomas Adams, a town planner, and architect George Ross come up with an innovative housing project. Since survivors are reluctant to move into wooden homes, having seen their homes reduced to matchsticks and piles of ashes, Ross comes up with a revolutionary fireproof material as shown in this CBC Television clip. Blocks of compressed cement called Hydrostone are used to build the new homes. Construction begins in 1918 and is completed in 1921. Over 300 homes are built. This unique community is simply known as the Hydrostone. The Hydrostone development project continues to be hailed as a great example of early urban development. 

Medium: Television
Program: 1st Edition
Broadcast Date: Dec. 7, 1998
Guests: Mary Jo Anderson, Peter Henry, Jean Hunter, Janet Kitz, Anne Welsh
Reporter: Darryl Gray
Duration: 9:53

Did You know?


• Hydrostone is the commercial name of the grey blocks made from compressing gravel, crushed stone, sand and cement.
• The Hydrostone development constituted the first public housing and town planning project in Canadian history.
• With its access to green open spaces and individually designed homes, the original Hydrostone houses remain among the more attractive and desirable residences in Halifax.


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