Parks Canada

Parks Canada

August 06, 2009 13:00 ET

Government of Canada Celebrates the Historical Significance of the Wreck of the RMS Empress of Ireland

POINTE-AU-PERE, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Aug. 6, 2009) - The Honourable Jim Prentice, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today celebrated the national historic significance of the Wreck of the RMS Empress of Ireland, which he designated a National Historic Site of Canada, upon recommendation from the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

"This sea tragedy marked the memory of an entire generation, and we have to make sure that it is not forgotten," said Minister Prentice. "It is important to allow every Canadian to know about this page of history and to honour those who lost their lives."

"The RMS Empress of Ireland is still remembered as one of the most prestigious liners to have sailed the St. Lawrence. It is an eloquent example of the beginnings of ocean crossings by luxury liners, said the Honourable Josee Verner, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister for La Francophonie. "The ship wreck is the most remarkable and complete of a early 20th century liner."

From a worldwide perspective, the Empress of Ireland is an important example of a classic deep sea ship that managed to make its mark on the prestigious, international market of passenger transportation across the North Atlantic. The ship's tragic sinking took the lives of 1,012 people, making it the worst disaster in Canada's history. An important historical and emotional link ties the Wreck of RMS Empress of Ireland to some 117,000 immigrants, who came to Canada aboard this imposing liner. Nowadays, close to a million Canadians can trace back their Canadian roots to this vessel, which sank in the early morning of May 29, 1914. The Empress of Ireland's structure has remained intact and the wreck still lies at the bottom of the St. Lawrence River, near Pointe-au-Pere, where it became a world-renowned diving site.

Parks Canada works to ensure that Canada's historic and natural heritage is presented and protected for the enjoyment, education, appreciation and inspired discovery of all Canadians, today and in the future.

Also available on the Internet at www.pc.gc.ca under Media room.

Contact Information

  • Parks Canada
    Media relations
    819-994-3023