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Hardly a window in the city proper survived the blast.
Across the harbour, in Dartmouth, there was also widespread damage.
Rescue trains began arriving the day of the explosion from across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick while other trains from central Canada and the northeastern United States were impeded by blizzards.
Construction of temporary shelters to house the many people left homeless began soon after the disaster.
The outbreak of the war brought Halifax back to prominence.
As the Royal Canadian Navy had virtually no seaworthy ships of its own, the Royal Navy assumed responsibility for maintaining Atlantic trade routes by re-adopting Halifax as its North American base of operations.
Unable to ground his ship for fear of a shock that would set off his explosive cargo, Mackey ordered Mont-Blanc to steer hard to port (starboard helm) and crossed the bow of Imo in a last-second bid to avoid a collision.
The two ships were almost parallel to each other, when Imo suddenly sent out three signal blasts, indicating the ship was reversing its engines.
The captain ordered Mont-Blanc to halt her engines and angle slightly to starboard, closer to the Dartmouth side of the Narrows.
In 1915, management of the harbour fell under the control of the Royal Canadian Navy under the supervision of Captain Superintendent Edward Harrington Martin; by 1917 there was a growing naval fleet in Halifax, including patrol ships, tugboats, and minesweepers. Bedford Basin is top left and the Narrows between Dartmouth and Halifax leads towards the Atlantic off the bottom on the right.
The explosion occurred on the south (Halifax) shore of the Narrows, midway between the present-day A. Macdonald (orange) bridges.s departure was delayed because her coal load did not arrive until late that afternoon.
Mont-Blanc was under orders from the French government to carry her cargo of high explosives from New York via Halifax to Bordeaux, France.
At roughly am, she collided at low speed, approximately one knot (1.2 mph or 1.9 km/h), with the unladen Imo, chartered by the Commission for Relief in Belgium to pick up a cargo of relief supplies in New York.