End of the War

World War I ended in November 1918. When news reached industrial Cape Breton, victory celebrations were held. The North Sydney Western Union Office was the first place in North America to receive word that the War was over. The message came in on November 10, 1918, stating that a truce would begin the following day. After four years of war, word got out and the residents of North Sydney knew about the truce a day before the rest of North America. As a result, celebrations erupted all over town and lasted throughout the day and night of November 10. The 300 U.S. personnel from the Naval Air Station joined off-duty military personnel to form a parade around the town. There was a concert and bonfires held in the evening and the entire town was alive with excitement.

The official celebration took place on November 12, 1918. All stores, offices and schools were closed in Sydney and surrounding areas, and the streets were filled with people. This Victory Parade promised to be the largest parade ever held in Sydney. The parade concluded with a large public meeting at Wentworth Park and a speech by Sydney Mayor William Fitzgerald.

The Freemans joined in the celebrations, attending a victory dance, watching the peace parade, helping to build a float for the American Red Cross and participating in the parade.

The American military presence came to an end on November 25 when the officers and men of the naval base hosted a farewell dance at Sydney’s hockey arena to thank the city and its people for their hospitality. More than 1100 guests were in attendance. Most American soldiers left after Armistice, the Naval Office closed and the Canadian Army withdrew from industrial Cape Breton at the end of December, 1918.