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History General

The Great Saint John Fire of 1877

The rise, destruction and recovery of Canada’s leading port city

by (author) Mark Allan Greene

Formac Publishing Company Limited
Initial publish date
Sep 2022
General, Post-Confederation (1867-)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price

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By 1851, Saint John had grown to be the third largest city in British North America. Home to thriving shipbuilding and lumber-exporting industries it was a vibrant port city and had the world’s fourth-largest accumulation of vessels. An economic depression in the 1870s was hard on the city, but nothing prepared residents for the disaster on June 20, 1877.

A sudden enormous fire swept through the busy centre of Saint John over nine hours. It destroyed almost half the city and left 13,000 residents homeless and livelihoods destroyed.

But the rebuild was swift, with fire prevention at the forefront of design and construction. By 1881, Saint John was reborn, stronger and more beautiful than ever.

This book, incorporating a collection of more than 120 archival images, tells the story in words and pictures of the rise, destruction and rebuilding of the city.


About the author

Contributor Notes

Mark Allan Greene grew up in Saint John. A writer, playwright and practicing lawyer, he retains a fascination with the history of his home town and its dramatic destruction and rebuilding. He has searched through hundreds of archival images from the 1800s and early 1900s to find images that portray the city before, during and after the 1877 Great Fire. He has also researched the impact of the fire to find many fascinating accounts of the event and its aftermath. Mark Allan Greene now lives in Edmonton.