Photo by Chung Chow
Lost to all but memory, the Titanic sank April 15, 1912.
The crew on largest ship in the world at the time, on its maiden voyage, still didn’t have the hang of the new technology of ship-to-shore radio. It turned the radio over to transmissions from wealthy passengers, as a perk. Had they been listening instead of sending, the ship’s captain may have learned of the ice field they were fast approaching.
On that moonless night, suddenly an iceberg loomed ahead. The ship tried to turn to get around it but an underwater ridge of ice ripped and buckled the underwater side of the ship, breaching numerous cavities, leading to Titanic’s eventual sinking with the loss of 1,503 lives including passengers and crew. Only 705 people survived.
The western world’s imagination was further intrigued by the fact that, for this maiden voyage, many of the first class passengers were the elite of Europe, Britain and the newly-emerging economic power, the US. The numbers travelling on the ship were further swollen by the ongoing coal strike that meant many other ships’ sailings had been delayed or cancelled.
This all adds up to a mystery and, thanks to the James Cameron movie, a romance.
Since the discovery of Titanic’s final resting place, deep under the North Atlantic, numerous artifacts have been retrieved. Richmond now plays host to these artifacts that offer windows into the lives of all the passengers of every class of this doomed ship. The items include a working class man’s shirt, a posh fellow’s tie, a recreation of a first class cabin that cost the equivalent today of tens of thousands of dollars for a one-way trip, perfume bottles still full, and a variety of dishes used in each of the different class dining rooms.
Lipont Place, 4211 No. 3 Rd. hosts this major exhibition through Jan. 11, 2019. For more information on this show spread over 2,000 square metres (21,000 sq. ft.), Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, call 604-285-9975.