On 7 and 8 May 1945, riots broke out after poorly coordinated Victory in Europe celebrations fell apart in Halifax and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Several thousand servicemen (predominantly naval), merchant seamen and civilians drank, vandalized and looted.
Word of Germany’s surrender in World War II was met by celebrations across Canada, but in Halifax, Nova Scotia the VE-Day celebrations rapidly turned into riots. For two days, military personnel and civilians roamed the streets, drinking, smashing windows, looting businesses and setting fires.
A major North American port, Halifax had doubled its size during World War II, from about 70,000 people to 130,000.
The resulting overcrowding in Halifax, scarce food, and inadequate facilities had led to a buildup of tensions between military personnel and permanent residents of Halifax.
The planning for VE-Day in Halifax was poor. In meetings before VE-Day there had been an agreement that the navy, army and air force…
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