Halifax Municipalities Pin

Halifax Municipalities Pin

This pin was given to me by Ron Eberhardt now retired from TxDot. It was a pin he acquired at a professional meeting.

I love Nova Scotia, having spent 3 weeks there. I have several pins from Halifax and the province of Nova Scotia. One of the most impressive historical events that happened in Halifax Harbor was the great explosion of December 6, 1917.

At 9:05 a.m., in the harbor of Halifax in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, the most devastating manmade explosion in the pre-atomic age occurred when the Mont Blanc, a French munitions ship, exploded 20 minutes after colliding with another vessel.

As World War I raged in Europe, the port city of Halifax bustled with ships carrying troops, relief supplies, and munitions across the Atlantic Ocean. On the morning of December 6, the Norwegian vessel Imo left its mooring in Halifax harbor for New York City. At the same time, the French freighter Mont Blanc, its cargo hold packed with highly explosive munitions—2,300 tons of picric acid, 200 tons of TNT, 35 tons of high-octane gasoline, and 10 tons of gun cotton—was forging through the harbor’s narrows to join a military convoy that would escort it across the Atlantic.

At approximately 8:45 a.m., the two ships collided, setting the picric acid ablaze. The Mont Blanc was propelled toward the shore by its collision with the Imo, and the crew rapidly abandoned the ship, attempting without success to alert the harbor of the peril of the burning ship. Spectators gathered along the waterfront to witness the spectacle of the blazing ship, and minutes later it brushed by a harbor pier, setting it ablaze. The Halifax Fire Department responded quickly and was positioning its engine next to the nearest hydrant when the Mont Blanc exploded at 9:05 a.m. in a blinding white flash.

The massive explosion killed more than 1,800 people, injured another 9,000—including blinding 200—and destroyed almost the entire north end of the city of Halifax, including more than 1,600 homes. The resulting shock wave shattered windows 50 miles away, and the sound of the explosion could be heard hundreds of miles away.

The geology of Nova Scotia is most interesting. It is a relatively small province of Canada but rich with geologic history. The deep drainage channels that cut through the uplands have exposed the roots of the mountains. The exposure has laid bare rocks that are among the oldest of the Earth’s crust and are representative of most of the geological time scale. Peninsular Nova Scotia consists of Paleozoic cover pierced by a granite backbone that, because it is highly resistant to change, occupies the higher elevations.

The North Mountain resulted from volcanic action in Triassic times, and the Annapolis and Cornwallis valleys were carved out in the same period. Practically all the industrial minerals, including gypsum, limestone, sandstone, salt and barites, occur in rocks of the Mississippian age. The coal deposits of the province are to be found in the several groups of Pennsylvanian rocks, especially the Pictou, Stellarton and Morien groups.

Originally, most of the province was covered by forest, but little of the virgin forest remains, except in the plateau of northeast Cape Breton Island. Secondary growth has tended to be coniferous because of the acid soil and the slow growing season, but hardwoods continue to exist in sufficient abundance to produce a colorful display in the autumn. In swampy areas and rocky barrens, mosses, lichens, ferns, scrub heath and similar growths are common. Wild flowers grow in profusion, among which the mayflower, pitcher plant, white water lily and several varieties of violets stand out for their beauty.

Widely found throughout the province are herbaceous plants such as Clintonia, cranberries, blueberries and many species of goldenrod. The European cuckooflower has become common in the Annapolis Lowland, while the ragwort has spread over eastern Nova Scotia.

Roughly 29 per cent of Nova Scotia’s land is suitable for agricultural purposes. The best farming land is in the lowlands, where soils have developed on deep tills; the uplands usually have shallow, stony soils. The most extensive lowlands, and hence the best agricultural land, are along the Bay of Fundy and Northumberland Strait. The tremendously high tides of the Bay of Fundy have created large areas of marshland, which, by means of dykes begun in Acadian times, have been converted into valuable agricultural lands.

Location: 10-E4

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