Titanic 100

Tonight my mom and I made the trek across the harbour to take part in The Gathering, a procession marking Halifax’s role in the Titanic story.

Join host George Jordan, actor, narrator, and broadcaster at the waterfront side of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic for a walking, candle-lit procession.

To symbolize Halifax’s recovery role in the tragedy and the conditions in 1912, a horse-drawn carriage with a period-style casket and pallbearers will lead the procession.

The procession will begin at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, move along Lower Water Street, left onto George Street, left onto Hollis Street, right onto Prince Street, right onto Argyle Street and into the Grand Parade for the Titanic Eve – Night of the Bells event. Along the way, participants will pass some of the city’s Titanic-related landmarks.

 It was a calm, clear night, much as it was on that date 100 years earlier. The big difference was the temperature; luckily for us, it was a fairly warm night for April. The procession was late starting…so late that in the end we only watched it go by and then went for ice cream, instead of joining the procession as we had originally planned!

Getting the wagon loaded and ready…

However, it was a nice procession: a period wagon pulled by black horses carried a plain coffin, and was followed by RCMP, cadets, boy scout troops and even some people in period costume. I heard that almost 500 people took part.

The procession passing

After our break, we made our way to the Grand Parade for Titanic Eve – Night of the Bells.

TITANIC EVE NIGHT OF THE BELLS

The story of the Titanic and Halifax’s connection to one of the
world’s greatest ocean tragedies.

Narrator: Canadian Icon, Gordon Pinsent. Performances by:

  • Stadacona Band
  • Rhapsody Quintet
  • John Gracie
  • Barber Shop Quartets
  • Titanic Orchestra
  • Evans and Doherty
  • Hallelujah Praise Choir
  • Nova Scotia Mass Choir
  • Laura Smith
  • Coig
  • George Jordan
  • Lennie Gallant
  • Rosalie Peppard
  • Camerata Xara Young Women’s Choir
  • Samantha Gracie
  • Dylan Guthro
  • Andrew Machum
  • Glenn Coolen
  • Sarah MacLeod
  • Amethyst Dancers
  • Scaip Na Cleiti Dancers
  • RCMP Pipes and Drum Band

After watching the opening speeches, some videos and the first couple of performances, we had to make our way back to the waterfront to catch the last ferry back to Dartmouth.

A moment of silence was scheduled for 12:27 a.m. (April 15th), the same time when the last wireless messages from Titanic were heard at Cape Race, N.L.

…Halifax’s Grand Parade, home of St. Paul’s Church. Here, church bells rang out that first Sunday after Titanic’s loss, the very day CS Mackay-Bennett’s hardy crew of Halifax sailors began pulling in the first of the 328 bodies recovered from the icy ocean, some 1,300 kilometres away.

And before the night was over, the bells would once again toll, following a planned moment of silence and flares fired high to mark the stricken ship’s final calls for help.

Mom and I were long home by that point, but apparently it was delayed by almost 40 minutes after the Grand Parade performances went longer than planned (and some technical difficulties).

…it was the final moment of the night, marking the Titanic’s final distress signal that was the most memorable. Flares burst into the sky, the stage went black, and a lone piper began to place a haunting and beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace. Then from across the square at St. Paul’s Church, and from multiple other historic churches in the city, the bells began to toll.

Read more about Halifax’s events to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic‘s sinking here.

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