Parks Canada News Release

Government of Canada recognizes Canadians efforts
in recovering Titanic victims
Actions of Canadians brought comfort to families of the deceased

Halifax, Nova Scotia, April 15, 2012 – On behalf of the Honourable Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, today honoured the efforts of Canadians in the recovery of victims of the RMS Titanic disaster. Minister MacKay announced that the Government of Canada will establish a commemorative plaque to recognize the key role that Canadians played in recovering the victims as an event of national interest.

The ceremony was held as part of a Titanic 100 service at Fairview Lawn Cemetery.

“The sinking of the Titanic brought heartbreak to many individuals, but perhaps no Canadian province was more affected than Nova Scotia,” said Minister MacKay. “Whether buried at sea, in one of three Halifax graveyards, or returned home, each Titanic victim was treated with respect by Canadian sailors as they carried out their sombre mission.”

The British passenger liner RMS Titanic, billed as the ‘unsinkable ship,’ left Southampton, England on April 10, 1912 with more than 2200 passengers on board. Four days later, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg off the coast of Canada and sank the following day, April 15, 1912. Even though the Halifax port was closer to the wreckage, the Cunard liner Carpathia, which rescued the 705 survivors, headed to the more southerly destination, New York, in order to avoid icy conditions.

Still, Halifax would soon play a key role in the chronicle of the RMS Titanic. Within days of the disaster, four Canadian vessels were dispatched to search for victims. White Star Line, the Titanic’s owner, chartered the cable ship CS Mackay-Bennett from Halifax, Nova Scotia to retrieve victims. Three other Canadian ships joined the search: also from Halifax, the cable ship Minia, the Canadian Government lighthouse supply ship Montmagny, and from St. John’s, NL, the sealing vessel Algerine. Each ship left with embalming supplies, undertakers, and clergy.

“Today, we honour and recognize the key role that Canadians played in recovering RMS Titanic victims,” said Minister Kent. “Their efforts brought comfort to the families of the deceased, and added to the great legacy of Atlantic Canadians who faced such tragedy with grace, respect and fortitude.”

Of the more than 300 bodies recovered by Canadian seaman, 119 were buried at sea, and 59 bodies were sent home. The remaining 150 victims were buried in three Halifax cemeteries: Mount Olivet, Baron de Hirsch, and Fairview Lawn Cemetery. The majority of the victims, 121 in all, rest at Fairview Lawn Cemetery.

Parks Canada works to ensure Canada’s historic and natural heritage is protected and, through a network of national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas, invites Canadians and people around the world to engage in personal moments of inspiring discovery at Canada’s treasured natural and historic places.

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