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Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion 

A true story about the tragic explosion at Halifax Harbour, Canada, in the early hours of December 6, 1917.

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Series cast summary:
...  Constance 'Connie' Collins 2 episodes, 2003
...  Courtney 'Court' Collins 2 episodes, 2003
...  Captain Le Medec 2 episodes, 2003
...  Millicent Collins 2 episodes, 2003
...  Patrick Collins 2 episodes, 2003
...  Sergeant Sam Barlow 2 episodes, 2003
...  Capt. Horatio Brannen 2 episodes, 2003
...  Naval Officer McNabb 2 episodes, 2003
Leon Pownall ...  Commander Frederick Wyatt 2 episodes, 2003
Graham Harley ...  Mr. Cleese 2 episodes, 2003
...  Rev. George Adams 2 episodes, 2003
Adrien Dixon ...  Walter Brannen 2 episodes, 2003
Morrissey Dun ...  Dr. Sherman 2 episodes, 2003
Jackie Torrens ...  Isabel 'Izzy' 2 episodes, 2003
...  Gunter 2 episodes, 2003
Alec McClure ...  Jamie Larkin 2 episodes, 2003
...  Charles Burchell 2 episodes, 2003
Lee J. Campbell ...  Mayor Colwell 2 episodes, 2003
Joan Orenstein ...  Older Constance 'Connie' Collins 2 episodes, 2003
...  Elijah Cobb 2 episodes, 2003
Dennis Envoldsen ...  Vince Coleman 2 episodes, 2003
...  Captain From 2 episodes, 2003
...  Reporter 2 episodes, 2003
Bill Forbes ...  First Mate Mont Blanc 2 episodes, 2003
Bradley Bailey ...  Ned the paperboy 2 episodes, 2003
...  Shipping Manager 2 episodes, 2003
John Walf ...  British Naval Officer 2 episodes, 2003
Brian Heighton ...  Canadian Surgeon 2 episodes, 2003
...  Mrs. Mackay 2 episodes, 2003
Andrew MacVicar ...  RCMP #1 2 episodes, 2003
John Fulton ...  Councillor #1 2 episodes, 2003
Mitchell Landzaat ...  Mont Blanc Helmsman 2 episodes, 2003
...  Jury Foreman 2 episodes, 2003
Geoff McLean ...  Imo Pilot 2 episodes, 2003
Stan Carew ...  Imo Helmsman 2 episodes, 2003
Patrick Christopher ...  Le Medec's Defense Lawyer 2 episodes, 2003
Mark Graham ...  Wyatt's Defense Lawyer 2 episodes, 2003
Mary Ellen MacLean ...  Teacher 2 episodes, 2003
Jacqueline Donovan ...  Young Mother at Dartmouth Cabin 2 episodes, 2003
Linda Busby ...  Mrs. McGill (Laundry Lady) 2 episodes, 2003
Angus Duncan ...  Representative #1 2 episodes, 2003
Kevin Deagle ...  Representative #2 2 episodes, 2003
Hillary Ashley ...  Frozen Girl 2 episodes, 2003
Kiersten Tough ...  Nurse (Face Slap) 2 episodes, 2003
Geoff McBride ...  Doctor #3 (Chebucto) 2 episodes, 2003
John Dartt ...  Crowd Member #1 2 episodes, 2003
Darcy Lindzon ...  Sergent (Dreamscape) 2 episodes, 2003
Gavin Buhr ...  Big Convict 2 episodes, 2003
Sarah Jane Blenkhorn ...  Nurse #1 (Chebucto) 2 episodes, 2003
Gordon Trites ...  Soldier Sent to North Station 2 episodes, 2003
Jeremy Webb ...  Mont Blanc Crewman #1 2 episodes, 2003
Jean Morpurgo ...  Crowd Member #2 2 episodes, 2003
Andrew Fowler ...  Sergeant on Horseback 2 episodes, 2003
Brianna MacDonald ...  Senior Student 2 episodes, 2003
...  Coleman's Friend 2 episodes, 2003
Gary Levert ...  Launch Captain 2 episodes, 2003
Glen Grant ...  Stevedore 2 episodes, 2003
Chris Turner ...  German Spy #1 2 episodes, 2003
...  Peddler 2 episodes, 2003
Susan Leblanc-Crawford ...  Head Nurse 2 episodes, 2003
David Alexander Miller ...  Wounded Soldier (Hospital Ship) 2 episodes, 2003
Shawn Duggan ...  Corporal (Looter Shooter) 2 episodes, 2003
Kevin Nugent ...  Man (Go to the Hill) 2 episodes, 2003
Adam Pennington ...  Soldier with Sam's Rescue Party 2 episodes, 2003
Jeri-Matti Helppi ...  Doctor #2 (Chebucto) 2 episodes, 2003
Bridget Bezanson ...  Nurse at Train 2 episodes, 2003
David Christoffel ...  Police Officer - Wyatt Arrest 2 episodes, 2003
Laura Muise ...  Girl (Mortuary) 2 episodes, 2003
...  Sergeant (Cigarette Out) 2 episodes, 2003
Joseph McKibbon ...  Collin's Clerk 2 episodes, 2003
Jim Fowler ...  Soldier at Wellington Magazine 2 episodes, 2003
Miles Leahy ...  Chicken Farmer 2 episodes, 2003
Joscelynne Bordeaux ...  Woman Amputee 2 episodes, 2003
Paul Jessen ...  German Spy #2 2 episodes, 2003
Murray Vincent Countway ...  Mr. Thomas 2 episodes, 2003
...  Mr. Hinch 2 episodes, 2003
Matt Grant ...  Mr. Keeler 2 episodes, 2003
Gil Anderson ...  Woman Dug Out By Sam 2 episodes, 2003
Richard Collins ...  Mont Blanc Engineer 2 episodes, 2003
...  Sailor #1 Calling All Clear 2 episodes, 2003
George Green ...  Police Officer at Courthouse 2 episodes, 2003
Daniel Lillford ...  Man #1 at Rally 2 episodes, 2003
...  Woman #1 at Rally 2 episodes, 2003
...  Ernest 'Ernst' Masterson 2 episodes, 2003
...  Francis Mackey 2 episodes, 2003
...  Beatrix Collins 2 episodes, 2003
...  Dr. Barbara Paxton 2 episodes, 2003
...  Captain Charlie Collins 2 episodes, 2003


Shattered City, an epic two-part mini-series, dramatizes a compelling piece of Canadian history. It is the story of how a tragic incident at the height of the First World War became a living metaphor for the worldwide conflict, and how Halifax arose from the ashes after severe destruction and devastation. In the early hours of December 6, 1917, the Mont Blanc, a French-owned freighter loaded to the gunnel's with thousands of tons of TNT, collided with a Belgian relief ship and exploded in the Halifax Harbour. The explosion was so vast that it killed more than 2,000 people, injured 9,000 more and completely flattened two square kilometers of northern Halifax. The series settles mostly on one family, the Collins, who's eldest son Charlie, a captain in the Royal Canadian Army, who tries to find the rest of his family including his fatally injured father, as well as his mother, and other siblings among the rubble, and later finds himself as a lawyer defending the Mont Blanc's captain, Le ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History


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Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

CBC [Canada]



Release Date:

2003 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

A Explosão de Halifax  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


As of June 2004, the Halifax Explosion still holds the record for being the largest man-made (though inadvertent), non-nuclear explosion in history. See more »


When the French captain and his crew are arrested, the Mountie determines that the captain is lying about being from Montreal by asking him who won last week's hockey game between Montreal and Toronto. When the captain guesses "Montreal", the Mountie draws his gun and says it was actually Detroit. This dialogue seems to be referring to the National Hockey League, which was formed the same year of the Halifax Explosion. Toronto and Montreal would have had NHL teams at that time, but Detroit didn't enter the league until 1926. (Although Detroit is known as an "Original Six" team, this actually refers to the six teams that comprised the NHL for several decades; the NHL was originally an all-Canadian league for back in 1917, there were no American hockey teams with the league.) See more »

Crazy Credits

This film is dedicated to the spirit and the memory of Constance "Connie" Bond Young August 9, 1911 - February 22, 2003 See more »


Followed by City of Ruins: The Halifax Explosion (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

An interesting but flawed miniseries.
7 June 2005 | by See all my reviews

My commentary: First and foremost, while the emphasis was on human error in the movie, the fact is war is a very fertile breeding ground for accidents on top of the deliberate carnage. "Saving Private Ryan" noted this with the mention of the glider that was fitted with armor plating - but no one thought to tell the pilot. So it crashes and six soldiers are killed needlessly. Accounts of war proliferate in tragic incidents such as that one. The Halifax Explosion must be the biggest war-related accident in history.

The Great War featured incomprehensibly vast usage of artillery shells, and artillery shells need TNT and other explosives. A lot of this had to be imported from the U.S., and by ships. Ships had to be gathered in ports. Ports will then see a lot of ships coming and going, and harbor masters are going to be pressed to keep all this traffic moving. The odds were considerable something like the incident of Dec. 6th, 1917 would happen someplace in Allied ports sooner or later.

Captain Le Medec probably wasn't the greatest or bravest mariner of all time. But how many ship captains who have seniority or pull are going to agree to captain a massive floating bomb at the height of the U-boat menace? Second, did anyone notice that the movie exonerates harbor pilot Mackie while making Le Medec and the Belgian captain look like total dolts at the helm; and has Mackie trying to avert disaster while the Frenchman funks off with his crew? Considering it is a Canadian and not a French production, what a surprise.

Then there is the almost defeatist speech Capt. Collins gives to the war rally in the church. Excuse me, an *officer* in HM forces blurting out like that? It simply wouldn't have happened at the time. Contrary to what he later tells Barbara, Germans weren't close to suing for peace at the time, and the war wasn't kept going only because the Allies wanted another year of war profits. Indeed, with the Western Front stalemated and Russia close to surrender, Ludendorff et al were convinced victory for Germany was just around the corner. And a lot of people on the Allied side feared the same thing.

On the plus side, I was impressed by what the production did with a limited CBC budget.

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