Saturday, May 25, 2013

Want to track down descendants of immigrants who were on the Empress of Ireland

A display of the sinking of the Empress of Ireland in the St. Lawrence River will tour across Canada in hope of tracking down descendants of immigrants who came to Canada onboard the ship. 

Here is the press release - 

TORONTO, May 24, 2013 - Is your last name Clark, Johnson or Smith? Do you know if your ancestors came to Canada onboard the Empress of Ireland? Would you like to know more about this Canadian Pacific Railway Company's ship?

On May 26th in Toronto, following the 99th Anniversary memorial service organized by The Salvation Army's Historical Society to commemorate the sinking of the Empress of Ireland, the "Site historique maritime de la Pointe au Père" (SHMP) will launch a national tour to trace down descendants of immigrants who came to Canada onboard the Empress of Ireland.

For a week, starting on Monday May 27th, at The Salvation Army's Territorial Headquarters for Canada and Bermuda (2 Overlea Boulevard, Toronto), you will learn everything about the fascinating but tragic story of the great ship that disappeared in 14 minutes on May 29th 1914 at 1 h 55 am in the frigid waters of the St. Lawrence River near Rimouski. 1477 people were on board, 1012 of them died. This disaster, overshadowed by the outbreak of the First World War, remains, to this day, the largest maritime disaster in Canadian waters.

A visual stand showing the ship in all its 1914 glory will showcase may pictures of the magnificent ship's interiors as well as a reconstitution of the disaster and rarely seen video footage of the underwater wreck. Documents and interesting information related to the exhibit will also be on display, including the list of onboard passengers from 1906 to 1914, the passenger list at the moment of the tragedy, a log book relating the ship's history and a complete calendar of all remembrance activities to be organized. Over ten cities across Canada will welcome this truly unique exhibition.

In 1914 The Salvation Army shared in the national tragedy of the sinking of The Empress of Ireland in the St. Lawrence. On board were more than 150 members of the Canadian Salvation Army, bound for a major international gathering in London, England. Most of them, including the national commander and members of the Canadian Staff Band, were drowned.

As the exhibit travels across Canada, Mrs. Pascale St-Amand, project manager, will be on hand to answer any questions from all visitors interested in this important page of Canadian history. Mrs. St-Amand will also keep a record of all the information and details visitors share with her regarding the hundreds of stories from immigrants who adopted this country at the beginning of the 20th century.

Come tell us your story!

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