Today is the 95th anniversary of the day of the Halifax explosion. At work today someone mentioned that there should be some kind of memorial ceremony on this day every year but there isn’t; maybe they’ll have something in five years when it’s the 100 year anniversary.
Then I mentioned that it’s not something that I ever even really learned in school. Even in high school it didn’t seem to factor into our history lessons (or if it did, it was such a small blip that I don’t remember it at all). Considering the fact that it was the largest man-made explosion until the atomic bomb, that 2000 people died, and that 9000 more were injured (not to mention a large part of Halifax being flattened), it should really be covered all across Canada, not just in Nova Scotia’s school system. Hayley and Breanna learned about it this year so they’re way ahead of where I was back then.
The only reason that I ever knew anything about the explosion at all is because I was addicted to the Canadian Heritage commercials that used to air regularly. This is about Vince Coleman, a train dispatcher who sacrificed himself in order to save the people who were on a train that was heading straight for the waterfront.
It was a bit sobering to be sitting at work so close to the waterfront. I realized that if the same thing happened right then, I would very likely not be sitting here typing right now. It’s startling to think about.
Anyway, in all honesty, I think I learned more random tidbits of Canadian history by watching those ads every day. They were awesome. I think they should re-air them or maybe film new ones to educate a whole new generation.
I still remember one day when I was sitting at the studio and we were talking about organs (the musical kind, not the kind you harvest for the black market) and I randomly blurted out that the organ at the Notre Dame Basilica in downtown Montreal was made by Joseph Casavant; Dino did a double take and asked “how the FUCK did you even know that?!”
Canadian Heritage commercials baby. Canadian Heritage commercials.