During the Second World War, Halifax quickly became overcrowded with tens of thousands of army, navy and air force personnel, as well as merchant seamen, civilian workers and their families. Newcomers competed with locals for goods, services and accommodation. All were in short supply through the war.
Devious landlords overcharged for the smallest of inferior living space, which usually had shared toilet, washing and cooking facilities—if there were any at all. Sailors and civilians alike were frustrated by the poor level and range of services in the port city.
“The city was just plain overcrowded,” said a Wren, one of nearly 1,000 Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service members stationed in the Halifax area. “And it made for a lot of tension.”
As the end of the war approached, the sen...