Nova Scotia

Bells of Peace mark 100-year anniversary of WW I's end

The bells tolled 100 times at sundown in communities across Canada, including at St. Mark's Anglican Church in Halifax.

Bells toll 100 times at sundown in communities across Canada

Rev. Vivien Hannon and Second World War veteran Norman Crewe are shown at St. Mark's Anglican Church in Halifax. Crewe, 97, was the first one to toll the bell Sunday evening. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

At about 4:50 p.m. Sunday, 97-year-old Norman Crewe tolled the Bell at St. Mark's Anglican Church in Halifax.

The veteran of the Second World War was the first person to toll the bell in a long line of people who attended the Bells of Peace ceremony.

The ceremony marks a century since the First World War ended. Each toll represented a year since the armistice.

"This is more than an honour for me today, it really is, honest. I can't explain the words," said Crewe.

"I can't explain the way I'm feeling right now to think that here I am at 97-years-old, coming to St. Marks for 71 years and here I am here today to start tolling the bell for the 100-year anniversary."

Bells toll 100 times at sundown in communities across Canada, including at St. Mark's Anglican Church in Halifax. 1:50

About 200 people of all ages attended the event at St. Mark's, but bells were tolling all across Canada.

There are two bells at St. Mark's — one for church services and another for funerals. The one to ring out on Sunday evening was the latter, Crewe said.

The Bells of Peace is an initiative from the Royal Canadian Legion and Veterans Affairs Canada.

About 200 people shuffled into St. Mark's on Sunday for a chance to toll the bell. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Rev. Vivien Hannon, the priest in charge at St. Mark's, said she's hoping the event is memorable.

"I hope that when people go away from here — and especially the children — that they'll remember and tell others later on that they marked the end of the First World War in this way," Hannon said.

Neighbourhood shaped by First World War

Hannon said the end of the First World War is an interesting thing to think about at St. Mark's in particular.

The original church was built in 1866 in north-end Halifax, but was destroyed Dec. 6, 1917 in the Halifax Explosion.

"The whole history of this area is just bound up with that event that was only happening because of World War I," Hannon said.

"This church was completed in 1920. But that whole era has a great meaning for us. And last year, in 2017, we did some big events to commemorate the centennial of the explosion.

"And now to be able to celebrate the end of the war is very meaningful."

About the Author

Anjuli Patil

Reporter

Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.