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April 6, 2012

Titanic Centennial Celebration

There have been many shipping disasters over the years including the Empress of Ireland in 1914 with a loss of 1012 lives and the Lusitania with the loss of 1198 lives (see my article online – April 26, 2002). The recent Costa Concordia disaster with a loss of over 30 lives was in the news for days. The biggest disaster was the Titanic 100 years ago on April 14 – 15, 1912 with a loss of 1523 lives.

Front page of the North Bay Nugget on April 15, 1912.

The Titanic not only lost lots of lives but did so under exceptional circumstances. A more powerful movie script could not be written and several have been done including some current ones. One source noted that of all the words in the English language the Titanic is the best-known after God and Coca-Cola. James Cameron's movie, now out in 3-D, cemented the Titanic name in posterity.

The Titanic was remarkable for its size and quality. Wikipedia notes that " it was designed to be the last word in comfort and luxury, with an onboard gymnasium, swimming pool, libraries, high class restaurants, and opulent cabins.” She had advanced wireless communication and was supposed to be extremely safe.

There were many very rich upper class passengers on board but other classes as well. Over 1000 Irish immigrants died. 150 unnamed bodies lie in graves in Halifax.

New Titanic print available through Canada Post.

On Sunday, April 14, 1912 at 11:40 PM the Titanic hit an iceberg on its first trip from Southhampton about 600 km south of Newfoundland. It sank in a couple of hours. There were not enough lifejackets or lifeboats. The Canard Lines’ Carpathia arrived 20 minutes after the Titanic sank but most of the passangers in the water were dead due to the cold water.

The Titanic's ruins were found in 1985 by Explorer Paul Henri Nargolet. On April 11, 2012 some 5000 of the many artifacts will be auctioned as a group in New York.

Wikipedia lists many events celebrating, or perhaps one should say remembering the Titanic. Google Titanic and you will see cruises, tours and many other events. The Titanic will be remembered in Canada with five new stamps and other memorabilia. Three Titanic coins by the Canadian Mint will also be available at your post office.

James Cameron, who just completed an 11 km deep dive to the oceans deepest point will be on PBS April 9 and repeated April 12 at 9 PM. He has been the 4 kms to the Titanic 33 times. National Geographic will have a special April 11 at 10 PM. A remarkable old Nazi movie will be shown on the history Channel on April 15 at 7 PM.

Locally Germaine Tanquay from Callander, who has had a passion for the Titanic story for years will bring her extensive memorabilia to a tea at the Callander Community Center as a fundraiser for the Callander Bay Heritage Museum from 11-5 PM on Saturday, April 14 one hundred years to the day the passangers were happily enjoying their cruise. There will be three classes of guests, displays, food, etc. Some of the artifacs will be given to the museum. See a report on the event by Dawn Clarke in last weeks Community Voices.

Chisholm Centennial

People in Chisholm Township, where I live, will be excused if they are not fully involved in the Titanic event because Chisholm is celebrating its Centennial. Coincidentally Chisholm's first Council met the week the Titanic sank and the hand written minutes of that meeting are an interesting artifact .Numerous events for Chisholm's residents , extended families and friends will be carried out throughout the year.

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