The capital of Nova Scotia is gearing up to commemorate the Titanic tragedy’s centennial anniversary in 2012 with a series of concerts, museum exhibitions, tours, and more. Halifax, set on Canada’s Atlantic coast, has profound ties to the legendary ship’s ill-fated maiden voyage on April 15, 1912 – it ended up serving as the final destination and resting place for some 150 of the bodies recovered at sea. More than 1,500 passengers and crew perished in the tragic wreck when the “unsinkable” ship plowed into an iceberg at high speeds.
When the Titanic first sounded its distress calls, its operator, White Star Line, believed it would be able to make it to Halifax, the closest major port. Ultimately, however, it was a quartet of Canadian vessels that responded to search-and-rescue attempts at the scene, including ships based in Halifax. As a result of these ships’ efforts and the port’s proximity to the wreck, Titanic history buffs today would be remiss to skip a visit to Halifax and the surrounding province during the centennial commemorations, where more than 20 sites and experiences related to the Titanic can be visited.
For a great introductory overview, sign up for Ambassatours Gray Line’s “Titanic 100 Year” tour, which includes stops at the Fairview Lawn Cemetery, where 121 passengers were buried (runs June through mid-October).
Then, check out The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Halifax’s waterfront, which contains an expansive collection of wooden artifacts from the ship and will be holding a special exhibition entitled “Cable Ships: Connecting Halifax to The Titanic and the World” from April 12 to November 4. Another photo installation, “An Earnest Price: 150 Grave Stories” by photographer Andrew Danson Danuskevsky, will also be on view (April 2 through June 30).
Follow that up with a visit to the Bedford Institute of Technology, which conducted extensive research on the Titanic wreck and will be showcasing an exhibit on what the vessel looks like today on the ocean floor (starts April 15, then runs weekdays from May through August).
The Nova Scotia Archives, meanwhile, will host open house events for visitors in 2012 to view records for photos, passenger lists, fatality reports, and British magazines that covered the event.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg (sorry, bad pun, forgive me). For more information about Halifax and the Titanic, visit www.destinationhalifax.com/titanic.