Alex Souchen


This article examines Canada’s ammunition dumping program in the mid-1940s and pays special attention to the practical and technical dilemmas that influenced policy making and implementation. A pressing logistical crisis followed the end of the Second World War as crowded armaments depots ran out of storage space for leftover ordnance. In July 1945 a major explosion at the Bedford Magazine in Halifax Harbour heightened public safety concerns and influenced future disposal policies. From a range of imperfect destruction methods, dumping emerged as one of the most efficient alternatives; whenever possible conventional and chemical munitions were submerged. Although the quantities sunk by the Americans, British, and Russians dwarf the amount dumped by Canada, the Canadian dumping program was no less important to the nation’s postwar transition or without serious ramifications for Canadians and their coastal environments.