One magnificent dinner and show!
December 17, 2013
May 29, 2014, marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Empress of Ireland off the coast of Sainte-Luce-sur-mer. The Site historique maritime de la Pointe-au-Père is organizing a week-long series of commemorative events, the highlight of which will be a dinner and show on May 28, 2014, at the Hôtel Rimouski. The honorary chair of the event will be Francis Lamontagne, President of the Board of Directors of Quebec's automobile dealers association (CCAQ). The CCAQ will be holding its annual convention in Rimouski in May 2014, and Mr. Lamontagne, who is very active in his community, will be taking advantage of the opportunity to share this part of our history with CCAQ members. They will visit the Pointe-au-Père site, and some 175 participants have already reserved their tickets for the dinner. Several dozen descendants of Empress of Ireland passengers will be coming from around the world to attend as well. We will also be honoured by the presence of the grandsons of the captains of both ships involved in the tragedy.

G communication marketing will be responsible for the entertainment portion of the evening, which is sure to be memorable.  Chantal Pilon and her team are working with Eudore Belzile and Denis Leblond to develop a concept that will transport all 480 guests back to the ship's glory days. Several actors will be along for the voyage, including our own Normand Lévesque, who will play the part of Henry George Kendall, Captain of the Empress of Ireland, for a night. To enhance the realism of the re-enactment, guests are invited to don attire reminiscent of the early 20th century.

For more details about the events scheduled for May 2014, please visit www.empress2014.ca.

The evening will begin with a boarding cocktail at 6 p.m. Tickets, which cost $200, are already on sale at the Site historique maritime de la Pointe-au-Père.
Sharon Ferry, Michigan, U.S.A.
December 12, 2013
The five surviving children of my great-grandparents Sydney Charles Maidment and Harriett Peckham Maidment were orphaned when their parents died in the Empress of Ireland disaster. Read more ...
Kay Toy / England
November 29, 2013
My brother Richard and I (and Richard's son) have booked our flights and hotel, so that we can attend some of the events commemorating the sinking of the Empress of Ireland, Read more ...
Norbert Wurtzel, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
November 14, 2013
Tragically, this entire family was lost during the sinking of The Empress of Ireland in 1914.
 
The young mother in the photo is my aunt, Anna Flatekval Lone. She had come to America from Voss, Norway in 1907. Read more ...
Susan Cameron
October 7, 2013
James Faulkner (born in 1858 in Willenhall, England) and Mary "Ellen" Faulkner (nee Meredith, born in England) both died on the Empress of Ireland. Read more ...
September 1913 - Empress of Ireland
September 30, 2013
When the Empress of Ireland arrived in Quebec City on September 11 at 4:15 p.m., docking manoeuvres took only 15 minutes! The process could actually be carried out even faster if port regulations did include speed limits! There were 1,573 people aboard, including 75 immigrants, members of the Salvation Army.

On September 17, Canadian Pacific announced Captain John Vernon Forster's retirement. He began working on the Empress of Ireland during the ship's fifth voyage in October 1906 at the age of 32.

Born in Sunderland in 1874 on the shores of the North Sea, he began working for Elder Dempster and Co. in 1889. In October 1898, he began sailing the St. Lawrence and carried on after the company was purchased by Canadian Pacific in 1903. He worked aboard the Lake Manitoba, the Mount Temple, and the Lake Erie, among others. He has a reputation as a capable and careful captain. To prepare young officers for their future responsibilities, they are transferred frequently, but many crew members had only ever worked under Captain Forster. The announcement of his retirement came as a surprise to many.

Captain Forster completed 84 round-trip voyages aboard the Empress of Ireland and transported close to 166,000 people. Now 39, he will pursue his career on dry land as a Canadian Pacific superintendent in Liverpool. James Turnbull will take over command of the Empress of Ireland.
Alice Giddy/ Halifax, Nova Scotia
August 7, 2013
My Grand-father, Frank Crossley (1891 - 1962), the youngest son of Fredrick Dodgson Crossley and Celia Hannah Mingay, Read more ...
Egildo and Carolina Braga, survivors of the sinking of the Empress of Ireland
July 23, 2013
Egildo and Carolina Braga survived the tragic sinking of the Empress of Ireland, but their son Rino lost his life.

Enrichetta Braga (the couple's daughter, now 93) tells their story:
Egildo Braga landed at Ellis Island, New York, on December 27, 1908. The energetic 20-year-old worked as a miner in Eveleth. Egildo wanted to start a family, Read more...

Renée Houde / Montréal / Québec
July 3, 2013
LIST OF EMPRESS OF IRELAND PASSENGERS SAVED BY CAPTAIN JEAN-BAPTISTE BÉLANGER.

Few people know that Jean-Baptiste Bélanger, Captain of the Eureka, was the first to arrive on the scene of the disaster. I suppose some people still on Earth will be happy to know the name of the person who saved their ancestors and that of the boat he used to save them. Born on January 1, 1852, Captain Jean-Baptiste Bélanger was 62 the day of the sinking. Read more ...
June 1913
June 19, 2013
During its 85th voyage, the Empress of Ireland was the scene of a very happy event. Chief Steward Augustus Gaade was called to his cabin to discuss important matters concerning the ship. Imagine his surprise, upon arriving, to find representatives of Canadian and American customs, the postal service and the railway company! These officials generally travelled from Rimouski to Quebec City and back. This time, they had all come to give him a gift on the occasion of his recent marriage. George Moore, a Canadian Pacific agent, gave him the gift and wished the newlyweds a long and peaceful journey across the sea of life. As small party ensued, after which all returned to their posts to guide the ship and its 1,496 passengers safely to port.

The Empress of Ireland departed Quebec City on June 26 with 1,089 passengers aboard, a large number for the crossing to Europe. Travelling in first class was a group of Chicago doctors bound for a medical convention in Germany. Also aboard were several passengers from Cincinnati on their way to tour Europe.

The St. Lawrence is enjoying increased popularity as a navigable waterway.
The Empress of Ireland disappeared 99 years ago
May 29, 2013
Rimouski (Québec) May 29- Ninety-nine years ago today, the Empress of Ireland sank beneath the waters of the St. Lawrence River in just 14 minutes. The passenger liner departed Quebec City on May 28, 1914, and in the early morning hours, collided with a Norwegian ship in a fog bank just off of Sainte-Luce-sur-mer near Rimouski.
 
On the morning of May 29, news of the death toll reached the world: of the 1,477 people aboard, 1,012 perished. Only 4 of the children aboard were saved. A few weeks later, the First World War broke out, and the Empress of Ireland was all but forgotten.
 
Now, nearly 100 years after the tragedy, those who survived have all passed on. Still, unlike the Titanic, which sank on its first crossing, the Empress of Ireland had been plying the seas for eight years when it set off on its 192nd crossing, its fateful final voyage. In that time, tens of thousands of people had come to North America aboard the Empress of Ireland to start their lives anew.
 
The Site historique maritime de la Pointe-au-Père (SHMP) in Rimouski was established over 30 years ago by divers who were passionate about the ship. The SHMP tells the story of this little-known tragedy and is planning a year full of activities to honour the 100th anniversary of the sinking in 2014.

In an effort to find descendants of passengers and crew of the Empress of Ireland, the SHMP has undertaken a cross-Canada tour beginning at Toronto's Salvation Army Heritage Centre. On May 29, 1914, 170 Salvationists were aboard the Empress of Ireland on their way to London for a major international convention. The organization commemorates the tragic sinking every year at Toronto's Mount Pleasant cemetery, and we were there.
 
The tour was made possible thanks to the support of Canadian Heritage, CBC-Radio-Canada, TC Media and Canadream



Photo: The Mount pleasant Cemetery ceremonial
The Empress of Ireland in 2014: An Unforgettable Commemoration
May 21, 2013
May 29, 2014, will mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Empress of Ireland not far from Sainte-Luce-sur-Mer. In honour of this event, the Site historique maritime de la Pointe-au-Père (SHMP) will host a series of commemorative activities all summer long.
 
Canadian Heritage has provided $270,000 to support a number of these activities, including the creation of a travelling exhibit that will visit 12 Canadian cities during the summer of 2013.
 
The SHMP has scheduled a full week of activities for May 2014, beginning with a banquet on May 28, exactly 100 years after the ship left Quebec City. Some 500 guests will be invited to virtually board the Empress of Ireland for its final voyage. About 100 descendants from Canada, the United States and even Europe are expected to take part in the commemorative events. A list of planned events is available online at www.empress2014.ca. Special activities will continue to take place all summer long. Visitors will have opportunities to meet Joe Saward, great-grandson of the Captain of the Empress of Ireland, and Alf Hestenes, great-grandson of the Captain of the Storstad. Locals whose parents or grandparents experienced the tragedy first hand and told their stories to their children and grandchildren will also be on site.
 
Francis Lamontagne, a well-known local businessman, has agreed to be the honorary patron of the commemorative events.  Mr. Lamontagne is, among other things, vice-president of Quebec’s automobile dealers association. He will be an excellent ambassador for the city of Rimouski, which will come alive with memories of the Empress of Ireland in 2014!
 
These events will be made possible thanks to the generous participation of two major regional businesses, TC Media, L’Avantage and CBC.
 
1913-Transporting mail between Canada and Great Britain
May 7, 2013
In April 1913, the House of Commons decided to amend the contract for mail delivery between Canada and Great Britain. Previously, mail had been transported aboard the Empress of Ireland and her sister ship, the Empress of Britain, as well as by two Allan Line ships. From now on, twelve ships belonging to four different companies will provide the service. Canadian Pacific and the two Empresses will retain their contract, but the greater number of ships will result in more frequent service — three times a week in the summer and twice a week in the winter — whereas before, mail arrived only once a week. The shipping companies will share the $1 million contract. Mail will still be transferred from sea to land at Rimouski.

The Empress of Ireland in New Brunswick (April 1913)
May 3, 2013

The Empress of Ireland left Liverpool, England, on April 18. There are 1,502 people aboard for the liner's 83rd voyage. She is on her way to Saint John, New Brunswick, where she will dock for the last time because her new winter destination will be Halifax. A train reserved for Empress passengers is scheduled to leave Montreal's Windsor station at 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 30. The train is equipped with baggage cars, first class sleeping cars, dining cars and sleeping cars. The Empress of Ireland will depart Saint John for Liverpool on Thursday, May 1.

Pierre Paré, Quebec, Canada
March 13, 2013
My grandfather, Désiré Paré, was the station manager when the Empress of Ireland sank. At the time, the station building had another floor, and that's where the family lived. Read more ...
Thomas McCready, Wilmslow, Cheshire, England
February 18, 2013
I was born in Liverpool in 1944 and knew that my family had strong links with sea. Grandfather, Dad, his brother and two of my brothers were sailors.  Read more ...
Donation from James Coulthard
February 11, 2013
Programme of entertainment

An evening onboard the Empress of Ireland-April 1913
Donation: James Coulthard, British Colombia


Markham Johnson / U.S.A.
January 18, 2013
My grandmother was named Ellen Berglund.  She came from Pitea, Sweden.  She was on the Empress of Ireland's March 21st sailing from Liverpool. Read more
Joe Saward, Paris, France
June 19, 2012
The following is an unpublished interview with my Great Grand-father (in the early 1960's), Captain Henry George Kendall, about the arrest of Dr. Crippen. Read more ...
Pam Matichuk, Alberta, Canada
June 14, 2012
My Mother and I attended the Empress of Ireland 90th celebration in Rimouski in 2004.  After many years of looking and never finding anything regarding the Empress of Ireland, Marion Kelch was interviewed in an article regarding  this 90th celebration.  She had arranged for a group  to attend the celebration.  We were privileged to be a part of this. Read more ...
Lisa Terech, Ontario, Canada
May 28, 2012
My grandmother's aunt, Ethel May Blakeburn, was aboard the Empress of Ireland. She came to Canada from England; according to family lore, she came as a nanny for a family, accompanying them on their travel to Canada. Read more ...
Connie Zuk Nisinger / U.S.A.
May 14, 2012
My Grandfather George Zuk was one of the survivors of the worst maritime disaster in Canadian history. His wife Maria and their two children were among the 1,012 who perished. Read more ...
Anne Polewski, Ontario
May 7, 2012
“Here is some information about Mrs. Mary (Parker) Dale and her young daughter Reta. They were travelling second class on the Empress of Ireland when it sank it May, 1914 and perished when it sank. Read more ...
Renée Houde / Montreal, Canada
April 27, 2012
I am the great granddaughter of Captain Jean-Baptiste Bélanger, who assisted in the Empress of Ireland rescue effort in May 1914.
Read more ...
Hilary Hallas / England
April 3, 2012
I have always been aware of the tragedy of the Empress of Ireland as my grandma lost her mother and 3 younger siblings in the disaster. They were the Ainsworth family, Edith, Maud, Jack and Eric. Read more ...
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