Friday, 24 June 2016

Titanic: The Canadian Connection

"Long before Cameron called 'action' on the set of Titanic Canadians were involved with the world's most famous ocean disaster."  Early on the morning of April 12, 1914, wireless operators in Cape Race, Newfoundland received distress signals from the ocean liner.  Aboard the Titanic, there were 130 men and women and children bound for Canada.  There were also over 20 Canadians returning to their native land on board the Titanic when it sank, including Grand Trunk Pacific Railway vice-president, Charles M. Hays and Eaton's buyer George Graham.  At least 10, including Hays and Graham, perished in the icy waters of the Atlantic, while the remainder were rescued by the S.S. Carpathian.

More than 150 dead were recovered by Maritime ships, their funerals presided over by Halifax clergymen and their bodies buried in Halifax cemeteries.  On the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic, Canada Post issued stamps to commemorate the tragedy.  One stamp portrays the stern while a second illustrates the bow, the two sections of which were torn apart when the ocean liner hit an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland.  The third stamp shows the anchor, which was so heavy that it took a team of 20 Clydesdale horses to pull it through the streets of Belfast, Ireland.  The fourth stamp features the three-bladed propellers, which weighed as much as 38 tonnes each.

While it was an American who discovered the wreck of the titanic in 1985, it was a Canadian, James Cameron, who produced and directed the blockbuster hit Titanic in 1997.  While by far not the biggest marine disaster, it remains the most famous one.

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