Mr. Speaker, 100 years ago, Halifax was a bustling wartime port city. It served as a primary base for the Royal Canadian Navy and facilitated the transportation of tens of thousands of troops and millions of tonnes of supplies destined to support the Canadian, American, and British troops fighting in the First World War.
Tragedy struck on the morning of December 6, 1917, when the vessels Imo and Mont-Blanc collided, setting off a dreadful, deafening explosion that destroyed everything in its path with its initial blast and ignited a raging fire that swept across the city. It was the largest ever man-made explosion at that time and shattered windows in Truro, over 100 kilometres away.
The Halifax explosion resulted in the deaths of nearly 2,000 people. It injured and blinded 9,000 more and forced nearly 25,000 into homelessness. Shocked and saddened by the news of such devastation, aid poured in from across Canada and around the world to provide relief to the survivors.
Today we remember those who perished in the explosion, celebrate the heroes of the day, and show our continued appreciation for those who came to help Halifax in its time of need.