The Magazine Hill explosion of 1945.
One of the Magazine Hill explosions of 1945.


1. Boom

Three unexploded bombs were discovered at a construction site in Burnside Industrial Park yesterday. The bombs were probably deposited at the site during the massive explosions at Magazine Hill on July 18, 1945.

Explains Bruce Ricketts:

…at about 6:30 PM, the calm was broken by a tremendous and earth moving flash and explosion.  What was once the Depot was now a mushroom cloud pillowing up to the heavens.

Ammunition and small explosives “pickled off” throughout the night and by midnight the “show” seemed to be over.  A final bright and loud explosion almost precisely at midnight announced the end of the display.

The final report on the explosion stated that a fire, of unknown origin, which started on the  dock, had spread to the ammunition depot.  Although there was only one casualty (a workman who was on the jetty at the time of the first explosion) and very few injured, the explosion brought back dark memories for the local population.  It was reported that up to 15,000 people in Halifax and another 10,000 in Dartmouth spent the night in parks, well away from the effects of the explosions.

But it could have been worse as some 50,000 depth charges were reportedly saved from the fire.

Imagine how frightened the survivors of the 1917 Explosion must have been in 1945.

Ron Folkins, commander at the Magazine Hill ammo depot, told the CBC that he’s called out three or four times a year to deal with unexploded bombs.:

“The furthest one I ever heard of being found was when they put in the foundation for Mic Mac Mall,” about nine kilometres away, Folkins said.

This city has had two major issues with military armaments—The Explosion of 1917 and the Magazine Hill Explosions of 1945. Making Halifax Harbour a nuclear-free zone is not just a symbolic gesture.


2. Human rights complaint

The city has asked the court to intervene in Halifax police sergeant Robyn Atwell’s hearing before the Human Rights Commission. The merits of Atwell’s case aside, we’re entering dangerous territory when employers attempt to side-step the human rights commission.

3. Aerosmith

While it’s great that Cape Bretoners can enjoy a big-name rock show, I can’t help but wonder how much public money went into the Aerosmith concert at Sydney’s Open Hearth Park, and how much will be recouped. When the show was announced in April, promoter Alex Martin said he expected to sell 20,000 tickets. Reported attendance at the show yesterday was 15,000. We know that attendance is very often over-reported, and no one is saying how many tickets were give-aways. This is the Harold MacKay strategy of concertizing. 

4. The right to park exactly in front of where I’m going

Bryan Crocker, who is the principal conductor of the Dalhousie Health Professions Choir, complains that the proposed bike lane on University Avenue will make him walk a few steps more to get to the Rebecca Cohn. Next, the Health Professions choirist will demand smoking be allowed in the theatre.

5. Wild Kingdom

A rope attached to some unknown object was caught up on a humpback whale off Cheticamp, slicing the creature’s tail. A DFO crew successfully removed the rope, the CBC reports.


1. Health care reorganization

The merging of health districts will become politicized because it hits the rural/urban divide, says Graham Steele. Along the way he makes a fewer/less error.

2. Dementia

Darce Fardy continues his journey into dementia with humour and good spirit. And exercise.

3. Government PR run amok

Prompted by my story yesterday about the ridiculous interaction I had with federal officials at a meeting on open government, Paul MacLeod relates his own experience with PR for PR’s sake, and concludes:

There’s no logic to the cult of PR anymore. It just runs on its own steam now, even if the person practicing it is only hurting themselves.


Here’s the EU’s map of passenger train service in Europe:

Rail map of Europe

And in the US:

US rail

And in Canada:

Canadian rail

In the harbour

(click on vessel names for pictures and more information about the ships)


Atlantic Compass, con-ro, Liverpool, England to Fairview Cove
Maersk Panang, container ship, Montreal to Pier 41
Seabourn Quest, cruise ship, Boston to Pier 23
Mermaid Ace, vehicle carrier, Emden, Germany to Autoport


Atlantic Compass to New York
Seabourn Quest to sea
Maersk Panang to Rotterdam


Atlantic Lottery has issued a tender for stand-alone “instant ticket vending” machines that will issue lottery tickets without the intervention of a store clerk. The machines will verify the purchaser’s age via a driver’s licence scan, which presents obvious problems, but what the hey, maybe one day soon it won’t take half an hour to buy bottle of aspirin at Shopper’s.

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. The passenger train maps make for an awesome visual statement on the New World’s lack of forethought when developing their transportation infrastructure. Of course communities in the EU tend to be located in much closer proximity to one another; but still the difference in the developed infrastructure is astounding.

  2. One of the reasons I’m going to renew my subscription is the occassional grammatical analysis that surfaces in the Examiner. Tim is encouraging people to read closely, which is great for enlightenment & bad for tyranny.

    In the same article Mr Steele confused the prepositions “of” and “from”:

    “Outside a radius of about 100 kilometres of downtown Halifax, there is deep, deep resentment of Halifax’s advantages and its arrogance.”

    Should be “from downtown Halifax” because the author is expressing a point of origin.

  3. Until we switch to a high speed transfer system, with a few park ‘n ride’s just off the core, we will be without any decent parking solution.

  4. The University Avenue corridor is wide enough to accommodate a bikeway and not lose any parking. It’s not as if there is enough traffic to justify 4 lanes now.

  5. Hey Tim: We’re all for bike lanes, but there is a parking problem at Dal and as you know, very poor transit service in many parts of HRM including Fall River where I used to live. Even if you buy a parking spot at Dal, you’re not guaranteed one when you show up. Fortunately, I have a modest solution. Tear down one of the more useless Dal buildings and building a honking big parking lot. Best candidate for demolition? The Kenneth C. Rowe Management Bldg.

    1. Dig up one of the large open spaces, dig/blast it out and put a big honking underground park facility down there. Then recreate the large open space back on top of the underground parking resource. Parking fee to be charged of course.

      This solution could be implemented all over the city and the on street parking dilemma would cease to exist.

  6. I predict I’ll finally cancel my subscription some day when I get tired of reading the pedantic less/fewer asides. Leave the knee-jerk prescriptivism for your own content!

    1. No, “less than fifteen years…” is correct. “Less than a million souls…” is wrong.