On December 6, 1917, in the narrows of Halifax Harbour, the Belgian Relief vessel IMO collided with an overloaded French munitions ship, Mont-Blanc. The resulting massive explosion wreaked havoc on both sides of the harbour and left at least 2000 people dead. Within hours Ottawa ordered a full investigation. Despite chaos in the city the Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry began the following week at the Halifax Provincial Court on Spring Garden Road.
Using excerpts from the inquiry’s transcripts, At This Hour offers a personal account of what happened that terrible morning through the words of Francis Mackey, the pilot on board Mont-Blanc . The charged exchanges between Pilot Mackey and the lawyer representing the owners of IMO , Charles Burchell, reveal how a supposed search for truth became the pursuit of a convenient scapegoat.
Who was to blame? A century later, this question is still unanswered.
A site-specific, verbatim theatre performance.
In the room where it happened.
On the days it took place.
With the words that were spoken.
100 years ago.
Part of the HRM’s Halifax Explosion 100th Anniversary Commemorations.