A Visit to Quebec and the Empress of Ireland: A Titanic Size Catastrophe Forgotten in History

Visiting Québec this summer? Consider Pointe-au-Pére (Father’s Point), the Canadian national historic landmark. It deserves a spot on your itinerary.

Favoring all destinations that involve water, we were drawn to Pointe-au-Pére’s nautical attractions – the Empress of Ireland Pavilion, Pointe-au-Pére Lighthouse, and the HMCS Onondaga – a Royal Canadian Navy submarine.

The tragic fate of the Empress of Ireland

The Empress of Ireland Pavilion houses a museum that opened in 2000 and contains a creative recounting of the history of Canada’s worst maritime disaster that took place just off the nearby headlands.

In heavy fog, in the early hours of May 29, 1914 the luxury liner RMS Empress of Ireland was struck amidships by a steamship hauling coal up the St. Lawrence River. The steamer was fixed with an icebreaker bow that tore a 14-foot hole in the Empress. She sank in just 14 minutes. There were 1,477 passengers aboard the ill-fated liner – only 465 survived the frigid waters of the St. Lawrence.

Even though the loss of life on the Empress of Ireland was in a league with that of the Titanic and Lusitania, the sinking of the Empress remains relatively unknown. There are several reasons.

The Titanic was a celebrity ship on her maiden voyage on the prestigious route between New York and London. There were many famous people aboard and her builders had bragged that the Titanic was unsinkable. After hitting an iceberg, she sank on April 15, 1912.

The Lusitania had the distinction of being torpedoed by a German submarine on May 7, 1915, just under a year after the Empress tragedy. The Lusitania incident eventually led to the United States entering World War I.

The Empress of Ireland was on a routine run across the Atlantic from Québec City to Liverpool – not a particularly prestigious route. There were no famous millionaires aboard, and apparently the loss of 1,012 ordinary lives was apparently not remarkable at a time when tens of thousands were dying on the battlefields of Europe. The Empress tragedy was literally pushed from the front pages of every newspaper.

Notwithstanding the lack of notoriety at the time, the Empress sinking was one of the world’s biggest civilian losses of life at sea.

To this very day, there are over 600 bodies entombed in the twisted wreck of the Empress – just 130 feet below the surface of the icy cold waters of the swift St. Lawrence River.

The detailed exhibits in the Pavilion are full of artifacts recovered from the ship. In addition, a dramatic film presentation documents the events leading up to the sinking.

Pointe-au-Pére Lighthouse

Had it not been for the early dark hour and fog, the Empress of Ireland accident could have been visible from the Pointe-au-Pére Lighthouse. Built in 1909, at 108 feet the lighthouse is the second tallest in Canada.

The lighthouse is constructed of concrete with eight buttresses that support a central tower with 128 steps to the top.

The light was deactivated in 1975, and it, along with the adjoining lighthouse keeper’s house, is now open to the public.

The keeper’s lodge is a “Museum of the Sea,” in which there are several interesting exhibits about navigation on the St. Lawrence River.

Visit the submarine

The Oberon Class HMCS Onondaga Attack Submarine was part of the Canadian Navy’s prestigious Atlantic Maritime Forces for over 30 years. She was decommissioned in 2000, and is now permanently docked at Pointe-au-Pére. The Onondaga is the only military submarine on public display in Canada.

Visiting the Onondaga is an excellent opportunity to tour a modern submarine, which is quite different from the mostly WWII vintage boats that are open to the public in other parts of the world.

If you go

Pointe-au-Pére is located in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region of the Québec Maritime. It is the traditional starting point for the scenic Gaspésie Tour known for outstanding landscapes, charming inns, and delicious foods including succulent lamb, artisan cheeses, and maple victuals.

This national historic site lies three and one half hours northeast of Québec City. Drive along the south shore of the St. Lawrence on Route 132. Your destination is just 15 minutes east of Rimouski.

We recommend vacationing in the Quebec Maritime

Lucky is the family that gets to vacation in Québec and explore its history and many natural wonders. This beautiful eco-friendly province of Canada is a photographer’s dream that has adventures around every turn in the road. We like spending quality-time in The Maritime, and we think you will too.

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5 Tips to Hire the Right Moving Company

If you are going hire a mover, chances are that you have purchased the house of your dreams. By hiring a mover, you can avoid a lot of stress, especially if you take the time to hire the best provider. Apart from checking out review websites, we suggest that you use word-of-mouth recommendations as well. In this article, we have shared 5 tips that can help you look for the right service provider. Read on to find out more.

1. Make a List of some Good Providers

If you want to avoid frustration, make sure you do your research and choose the best provider. Although it will take time to contact several companies, it’s worth the effort. It’s better that you create a short list of 5 companies first.

Afterwards, you should read up on them to find out which one offers the best services. Just make sure they have best rates and service quality.

2. Get an Assessment

It’s better to get an in person assessment of how much stuff needs to be moved. Although there are many online tools that can help you make an assessment, it will only give you an overall idea. So, an in-person assessment is the best choice.

The assessment will tell you about the number of fragile and heavy items you have to move. Plus, the moving company should be aware of the type of items you have.

3. Ask Questions

You may have some questions to ask before hiring a mover. These questions may be related to the licensing, insurance, packing, and transportation. So, make sure you book an appointment and get answers to these questions before making your mind.

4. Don’t Hide Important Information from the Provider

Make sure you don’t hire any information from the mover. If you have to say something about packing, assembling, dissembling or unloading items, let the provider know. If you think you can get a better deal by hiding some details, you are making a mistake. You will have to pay for the hidden extras. Plus, it will create a bad impression on the moving company.

5. Negotiate

Your mover will figure out the total based on a lot of factors like the number of items, labor cost, weight of the items, gas expenses, and so on. So, it’s better to get estimates from multiple providers. This will help you negotiate with the providers and get the best deal possible.

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