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A Titanic Centennial

With many historic links to the tragedy, Halifax marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking.

When the Titanic went down in the icy waters of the North Atlantic, ships from Halifax were among the first on the scene. The majority of recovered victims, 150 bodies, were buried in three Halifax cemeteries: Fairview Lawn Cemetery at the north end of Windsor Street, nearby Mount Olivet and Baron de Hirsch cemeteries. In the 100 years since the disaster, Halifax has stayed keenly aware of its Titanic ties.

April 15 is the centenary of the sinking (it struck the iceberg late on April 14, sinking less than three hours later). Visitors can learn more about the celebrated ship and Halifax’s connections to it throughout the month. Begin your explorations at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Lower Water Street. The permanent exhibition Titanic: The Unsinkable Ship includes artifacts like a life ring, deck chair and oak carving from the Titanic. The museum also features a temporary exhibition on the history of cable ships in Nova Scotia, detailing the roles of the Halifax-based Mackay-Bennett and Minia ships in recovery operations. Cable Ships: Connecting Halifax to Titanic and the World features personal stories and artifacts from recovery workers. The museum is also showcasing An Earnest Price: 150 Grave Stories, photos of Titanic grave markers by Andrew Danson Danushevsky.

After the Maritime Museum, continue south on the waterfront boardwalk to the Halifax Port Authority building on Marginal Road. In front, stands a statue of Samuel Cunard. A Halifax native, Cunard founded Cunard Lines, which sparked the modern steamship industry.

Further south on Marginal Road, the Cunard Centre is named for the shipping magnate and, from April 3 to 26, home to Titanic: The Fated Voyage. The dinner-theatre drama tells the story of the disaster. To accompany the tale, Chef Tahir Salamat of Onyx and Cut Steakhouse & Urban Grill has prepared a menu of cuisine served on the voyage.

The Five Fishermen restaurant on Argyle Street is another Titanic landmark. The historic building (purported to be haunted) was once a funeral home, and many Titanic victims passed through its doors. Today, Five Fishermen is one of Halifax’s finest restaurants. This month, it serves a special prix-fixe menu of dishes from the Titanic’s first-class menu, including Poached Salmon with Mousseline Sauce, Filet Mignons Lili and Waldorf Pudding. The Press Gang on Prince Street also features a Titanic-inspired menu.Hear a new perspective on the Titanic story from April 2 to 10, as Alderney Landing in Dartmouth—where the Metro Transit ferries dock—hosts Titanic: The Untold Story. Blending historical fact and legend, the play tells the story of Haitian Joseph Philippe Laroche, the only black person to sail on the Titanic.

One of the most romanticized parts of the tragedy is the story of the Titanic band, stoically playing to bolster passengers’ morale as the vessel sunk. On April 10, the Dalhousie Arts Centre hosts And the Band Played On, a special concert in honour of the musicians. Performers include Meaghan Smith, Jenn Grant, Evans and Doherty, the Rhapsody Quintet, Lennie Gallant and many others.Many special events mark the anniversary itself. On April 14, visit the Maritime Museum from 7:30pm to 9:30pm for a candle-lit procession, making its way from the museum to the Grand Parade, passing Titanic-related landmarks along the way. From 9:30pm to 12:20am, Grand Parade hosts Night of the Bells, telling the story of the sinking of the ship, her passengers and Halifax’s recovery efforts. At 12:20am, when the Titanic began to sink, a moment of silence will be held and flares set off to symbolize the ship’s call for help. On April 15, beginning at 3pm, there is an interfaith memorial service at the Fairview Lawn Cemetery.

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