Bells damaged in the Halifax Explosion a century ago to be installed at city hall
2 bells will replace the existing speaker system and pre-recorded chimes
Halifax will soon hear century-old sounds, thanks to a new bell system atop city hall.
Crews are expected to begin the process today to replace the existing system at city hall and install two bronze bells that predate the Halifax Explosion and were damaged in the blast.
One of the bells was likely in place at city hall during the explosion, but municipal staff and researchers can't say for sure.
"Based on archival evidence, it's possible that the smaller bell could be an original city hall bell," said Klara Needler, spokesperson for the Halifax Regional Municipality.
The other bell's history is also unclear; it may have been installed in a church or market at one time.
Historic bells replace 90s speaker system
Since 1995, Halifax city hall's clock and bell system has marked the quarter-hours and hours thanks to recordings played over a huge speaker in the tower.
Many residents walking past city hall were surprised to learn there aren't actually any ringing bells up in the tower.
"It will be the first time in almost 100 years that real bells will be ringing in the city hall bell tower," said Needler.
Lifting the bells will be no easy task. They weigh 376 kilograms and 485 kilograms respectively. That's roughly the total weight of 25 to 30 full propane barbecue tanks.
New bells will keep commuters on time
City staff say the new bell system will still mark the time — sounding every 15 minutes — thanks to a new control system that operates modern clapper mechanisms inside the bells. The bells were sent to the U.S. to have the clappers installed and tested.
Experts plan to be on site most of the day, but plan to sound the bells for the first time early in the afternoon.
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