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When the lights went out
~ the centenary of the First World War

Farm Journal
Illustration taken from “Family Journal” showcasing three senior British commanders found in the Edna Snow scrapbook, CR3-2-0-2

August 4, 2014 marks the hundredth anniversary of Canada’s entry into World War I. The cataclysmic conflict was experienced across the world and some of its long-term effects are still with us today. For Halifax, the conflict brought prosperity as the war pumped millions of dollars into the local economy. It also brought tragedy in the form of the Halifax Explosion.



The following documents were selected from sources at the Municipal Archives to provide an idea of what the war was like for Halifax and its residents.





Dartmouth cancels Natal Day in 1914

Dartmouth Council met at a Special Meeting a few days after the war was declared to cancel their annual Natal Day celebrations because of the recent outbreak of war and the absence of key athletes fighting in Europe. Click here to read the Dartmouth Town Council minutes Aug. 6, 1914 (series 101-1A).

Prayer Service Invitation



Prayer Service for the troops - August 1914

This is an invitation from Anglican Archdeacon W.J. Armitage for the official presence of the Mayor of Halifax, F.P. Bligh at a special service at St. Paul's Church to pray on behalf of the soldiers and sailors who were engaged in the war.

Image from HRM Archives, City of Halifax Clerk's Subject Files - Wartime and the military file 102.5A.247.19









The Home Front

Soon after war was declared, Deputy Mayor William R. Powell  telegraphed the federal Minister of Militia requesting arms and ammunition for a Halifax Home Guard.

HRM Archives, City of Halifax Clerk's Subject Files - Wartime and the military file 102.5A.247.44








Dartmouth contributes to the Canadian Patriotic Fund - September 1914

Dartmouth Council declares their sympathy and support for the war effort by voting to contribute $2500 to the Canadian Patriotic Fund. This fund helped the dependents of those who were called out to active duty. Click here to read the Dartmouth Town Council minutes Sept. 17, 1914 (series 101-1A).



Win the War

Win the War!

This is an invitation to a meeting of Halifax's “Win the War” Committee which sent a delegation to the Win the War convention in Montreal. The convention had no set objective beyond achieving national unity and unifying patriotic forces across the country.

Additional records of the Committee are available at the Archives. Click here to view the invitation from City of Halifax Special Committee Minutes (series 102-1G).



Sargeant Stone


The Edna Snow WWI scrapbook

Edna Snow of Harrigan’s Cove, Nova Scotia created this scrapbook on a catalogue from B. & H.B. Kent, Toronto jewelers. She glued in material she collected - mostly related to World War 1; there are newspaper cutouts of patriotic songs as well as photographs of young men she presumably knew, who were fighting overseas. Other items featured include newspaper clippings of short stories, songs and jokes. Click on the image to view a digitized copy of the scrapbook.






Public Patriotic Logo

Public Patriotic Meeting for 3rd Anniversary of the Declaration of War

Click here to view a communication from the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia to the Mayor of Halifax about the public meetings of a patriotic and imperial nature held across Canada to mark the third anniversary of Canada’s entry into the War. (City of Halifax Special Committe Minutes 102-1G).


Donaldson Image


Two brothers in khaki - Joe and James Monaghan honoured

Sergeant Major Joseph P. Monaghan, a long serving member of the 63rd Halifax Rifles is honoured for his work escorting injured soldiers to their homes.Click here for a description of his service. (City of Halifax Clerk's Subject Files - Wartime and the military file 102.5A.247.4)

Joseph’s twin brother, James, a Captain who served for twenty-one years with the 63rd, is presented with the Long Service Medal. Click here for a description of the presentation ceremony on McNab’s Island. (City of Halifax Clerk's Subject Files - Wartime and the military file 102.5A.247.61)



Image of Captain Rev. Donaldson from the Edna Snow scrapbook - CR3-2-0-2 (Apologies, no image of the Monaghans available)




Proclamation of First Armistice Day - November 1919



Halifax City Council leads Canada in proclaiming November 11th as a public holiday, on the first anniversary of Armistice Day. This was before the federal government officially designated November 11th as a federal statutory holiday. Click on the poppy to view the minutes of the November 6, 1919 meeting.




HRM Archives gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canadian Council of Archives in supporting the Young Canada Works summer student who prepared this exhibit.