Friday, August 7, 2009

The Empress of Ireland

On August 6, 2009, the Honourable Jim Prentice—Canada's Environment Minister and Minister Responsible for Parks Canada—marked the historic significance of the Wreck of the Empress of Ireland by naming it as a National Historic Site of Canada.

The Empress of Ireland went down in the St. Lawrence River in the summer of 1914 after colliding with another ship named the Storstad during heavy fog.

She as on her way to Liverpool, England from Quebec City with 1,477 people on board - only 462 people were saved.

It is the worst sea tragedy that Canada has ever experienced, and it has "marked an entire generation, and we have to make sure that it is not forgotten," said Minister Prentice at the ceremony on Thursday.

You can read the history of the Empress of Ireland and see who her passengers and crew were on the that day by visiting <>.
On this website, you will find a history of the tragedy as well as a video of the ship.

There were 87 passengers in the First Cabin, with 51 lost at sea; 253 in the Second Cabin, with 205 people lost at sea; 717 people in the Third Cabin, with 584 people lost at sea; and of the 420 crew members, 175 were lost at sea.

In addition to having the names listed, one will also find out where the passengers and crew were from, whether they were lost or rescued, and what happened to them — if they went back home (e.g. Toronto), if they sailed on another ship at a later date, or if they were lost, what happened to the body.

There were over 100,000 immigrants who came to Canada on the Empress of Ireland during her lifetime, and these days, close to a million Canadians can trace their ancestry back to being on the ocean liner.

The structure of the ship is still intact as it lays at the bottom of the river near Point-au-Pere, and today it is a world-renowned diving site.

The wreck is supervised by Parks Canada.

1 comment:

Hels said...

You noted it is the worst sea tragedy that Canada has ever experienced; that it "marked an entire generation, and we have to make sure that it is not forgotten", but I wonder how many people would recognise the name Empress of Ireland. Even Canadians.

Thanks for the link.