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St. John’s events commemorate Great Fire of 1892

Shells of burned-out buildings scar the downtown after the Great Fire of 1892.
Shells of burned-out buildings scar the downtown after the Great Fire of 1892.

A number of events this weekend in St. John’s will commemorate 125 years since the Great Fire of 1892.  

Events will be held at Bannerman Park, The Rooms and other locations in the downtown, and will include an archival photo exhibit, a song and story circle concert and a historical walk through the area affected by the fire, the city said in a news release.

“The Great Fire of 1892 represented a turning point in the history of St. John’s,” said Deputy Mayor Ron Ellsworth, chairman of community services. “It’s important to recognize this turning point and how it came to shape the city that we all know and love today.  This weekend also is a time of reflection as we consider the issues of fire safety especially in the close quarters of downtown, and the future of development in the city.”

During the Great Fire, three quarters of the city were destroyed and close to 12,000 people were left homeless.

The commercial district downtown was wiped out.

The commemoration events are funded in part by the federal government.

“As we commemorate this tragic event and turning point in the history of St. John’s, we have a chance to look upon our past and consider how it has made us who we are today,” said Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, said in the news release.

The city is also partnering with Downtown St. John’s, with design assistance from Destination St. John’s, on a window animation project with archival images related to the Great Fire displayed in storefront windows later this summer.

“Downtown will be a commemorative gallery where individuals can view the historical images of the Great Fire in the context in which they occurred,” said Scott Cluney, Downtown St. John’s executive director.  

All event details are at stjohns.ca/greatfire.

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