Both liners, the SS Atlantic and RMS Titanic, came to grief in the Atlantic Ocean; the SS Atlantic in 1873 and the Titanic in 1912. Eerily, both tragedies occurred in the month of April which was definitely an unlucky month for the White Star Line. Our Titanic excursion will visit many sites associated with these two ships.
- Leaving the cruise ship dock, we’ll head north along Lower Water Street and pass numerous historical sites including the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic which houses the foremost collection of Titanic memorabilia recovered at the time of the sinking, including the only surviving intact deck chair.
- Next, we’ll pass by the Cable Wharf which is where the Titanic’s recovery cable ships, Mackay-Bennett and Minia were usually docked when in port in Halifax.
- We’ll drive by or pass a number of sites; historic City Hall, the Grand Parade, St. Paul’s Church, and the original site of Snow’s Funeral Home. The owner, John Snow, was aboard the Mackay-Bennett with 125 coffins and paraphernalia including ice, embalming fluid and iron. His establishment was where some of the victims of the Titanic were taken. Snow's Funeral Home is next to the original site of the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, one of whose founders was Anna of "The King & I" fame.
- Across Argyle Street from St. Paul is the former residence of Hilda Slayter, one of only two Haligonians on the Titanic to survive.
- Returning to the Chebucto Landing area, we’ll drive north to the Casino which is adjacent to Karlsen’s Wharf which is the point from where the Mackey-Bennett sailed to the Titanic disaster site.
- The area surrounding the MacDonald Bridge marks the spot where the victims were brought ashore before being taken to the temporary morgue at The Mayflower Curling Rink.
- Next, we’ll continue on to the Fairview Lawn Cemetery (circa 1883) for a visit. On the way we’ll pass by the site of The Halifax Explosion (1917) and have a view of Bedford Basin where the convoys of WWI & WWII sailed.
- The Fairview Lawn Cemetery is known as ‘the Titanic Cemetery’ as 121 victims are buried here. In total, 150 victims of the Titanic are buried in three Halifax cemeteries. There are ten Titanic victims buried in Baron de Hirsch Cemetery which is next to Fairview Lawn Cemetery.
- It is a short drive to Mount Olivet Cemetery where nineteen Titanic victims, believed to be Roman Catholic, are buried including bass violinist Fred Clarke and Margaret Rice, who perished along with her five sons.
- We will now have coffee and rest stop.
- Next, we’ll make our way to site of the first White Star Line disaster. The White Star’s luxury steamship SS Atlantic ran into Mar’s Head at Lower Prospect on April 1, 1873. This was the worst single vessel disaster to occur in Canadian waters prior to the Titanic. Five hundred and sixty two people lost their lives that day, but 390 were saved due to the efforts of the local fishermen and their families.
- We’ll visit the Interpretation Centre, the mass burial site, stroll the boardwalk that wraps around the coastline, and perhaps have a rest at the gazebo to take in the magnificent view. This area has been landscaped and interpretive panels installed which tell the story of this disaster. Prior to leaving, we’ll tour around an area which I personally know to be a more scenic and authentic fishing community than the one found at Peggy’s Cove.
- Driving back into historic Halifax, we’ll make our way to Point Pleasant Park and the mouth of Halifax harbour which is deepest natural harbor in the world, and second largest after Sydney, Australia. From here, it is 725 nautical miles to the spot where the RMS Titanic sank.
At the north end of Young Avenue on the right hand side of the street is the former residence of George Wright, a much respected businessman who did not survive his voyage on RMS Titanic.
- The Cathedral Church of All Saints held the first Titanic funeral.
- A funeral mass for four unidentified women, who were recovered holding rosary beads, was held at Saint Mary's Basilica.
- Brunswick Street United Church, which held services for victims whose religious affiliations were unknown.
- Saint George's Anglican Church is associated with the ‘Unknown Child', who was later identified as Sidney Goodwin.
At this point, we’ll return to the cruise dock, or some may wish to visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and walk back to the ship.