This year, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada’s eastern-most province will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic with a series of exhibitions, concerts, film showings, re-creations, music events, theatrical performances, lectures and special tours with Titanic experts.
During its inaugural voyage from Southampton to New York on the night of April 14, 1912, the “unsinkable” luxury liner struck an iceberg 409 nautical miles south of Newfoundland. In less than three hours, the pride of the White Star Line sank taking more than 1,500 passengers to a watery grave. Located on the eastern edge of North America, the province is closest to the point where the ship went down and where the immediate search and rescue efforts began.
Newfoundland’s Cape Race Marconi station was the first to receive the ship’s distress signal. In fact, Walter Gray, who manned the station, knew the Titanic’s radio operator, Jack Phillips. And it was from Cape Race that the unfolding story of the ship’s disaster and the rescue efforts was passed on to the world.
The Titanic year kicks off in March 2012 with the launch of a virtual exhibit, “The Titanic Resource Guide” at The Rooms, St. John’s top cultural complex housing a museum, an art gallery with 7,000 works and historic archives. The exhibit will feature a variety of records in digitized format documenting Newfoundland’s response to the news of the sinking of the ship.
Available for viewing are: photographs; copies of communications between then Prime Minister Morris of Newfoundland and the Office of Governor Williams about the response to the disaster; excerpts from the Journal of the Legislative Council; newspaper articles; and telegrams from the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of Canada. The museum will also present “RMS Titanic: Relics of Disaster,” which tells the story of the ship’s construction and its ill-fated voyage through artifacts, photographs and documents including distress messages received from Cape Race, items recovered at sea and a scale model of the ship lying on the ocean floor. www.therooms.ca