Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada: Human-Shaped Disaster Window

A church window was blown out by a massive explosion in 1917 -- and left the shape of a human profile! The church says that it's the profile of an 18th century reverend, but the truth may be less miraculous and more ghastly.

St. Paul's Church

1749 Argyle St., Halifax, NS, Canada
In St. Paul's Church. Downtown, on the south side of Halifax Harbor. Between Barrington and Argyle Sts, just north of Prince St. It's the third upper-level window from the north end of the church.
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Horrible Explosion Relics

The oldest Protestant church in Canada (1750) was built in the Palladian style (imported from Boston I believe) as a chapel for local Haligonians and for the garrison troops stationed there at the time. It survived the largest pre-Hiroshima man-made explosion in human history when on Dec. 6, 1917 a Belgian relief ship, Imo, collided in the harbour with the French munitions ship Mont-Blanc, which was carrying over 400,000 pounds of TNT and various other volatile effects. The explosion leveled the north end of the city, killing over 2,000 people, and injuring 9,000 more. But a souvenir has been preserved -- one window at St. Paul's broke neatly in the shape of the silhouette of a man's head and shoulders (very George Washington-esque I remember).

I asked a local Anglican priest type at the church how it happened, "Was somebody standing near the window?"

He said "No, it wasn't like a Bugs Bunny cartoon!" Oh well. But still it's very mysterious.

In a park somewhere in town is part of the anchor shank of the Mont-Blanc that flew 2 miles from the site of the explosion (I've read that the barrel of one of her cannons landed 3 1/2 miles away in the opposite direction).

[Rob L, 06/18/2003]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Theodore the TugboatTheodore the Tugboat, Halifax, NS, Canada - < 1 mi.
Cannon Blown Miles From Exploding ShipCannon Blown Miles From Exploding Ship, Halifax, NS, Canada - 2 mi.
Grave of J. Dawson, Titanic VictimGrave of J. Dawson, Titanic Victim, Halifax, NS, Canada - 3 mi.
In the region:
Mastodon, Flintstones House, Halfway Marker, Stewiacke, NS, Canada - 36 mi.

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