People gathered Tuesday in New Waterford, N.S., to mark the sombre centennial anniversary of the deadliest explosions in Cape Breton history.

One hundred years ago on the morning of July 25, 1917, the largest coal mine explosion in Cape Breton history claimed the lives of 65 men and boys and left dozens more injured.

The granddaughter of one of the victims, Eunice McCarthy says her mother used to tell stories about the blast. Her mother never had the chance to meet her father, who died in the mine.

“She was nine months old. She told me she was crawling around the front yard the time of the explosion,” she says. “She never knew him and always wondered what he was like.”

Minecarts marked the entrance to the site of the explosion at the former No.12 Colliery in New Waterford. Flags were also at half-mast Tuesday to mark the anniversary.

Historian Lachlan MacKinnon says the explosion affected a lot of the town’s families.

“Some families lost two or three members of the same family in the explosion. There were funerals and memorials for days and even weeks after the event itself,” says MacKinnon.

The municipality marked the centennial anniversary at Colliery Lands Park with a lantern parade, ceremony and concert by Cape Breton's ‘Men of the Deeps.’

Singer Gary Micholshy says the explosion inspired a lot of their music.

“We remember them through our music and our songs. Our songs go back to the early turn of the century,” Micholshy says. “So remembering is something that's almost ingrained in us.”

McCarthy says the mine explosion is an event her grandmother was never able to get over.

“I never thought until now, why she always wore black. She wore black the rest of her life until she died when she was 90. She was in mourning all those years,” she says.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.