Surviving Canada’s Biggest Maritime Disaster

A descendant of a family who survived the sinking of the Empress of Ireland talks about a disaster that no one wanted to remember.

Written by Nelle Oosterom

May 27, 2014

June Ivany’s grandparents and three of their adult children were on board the Empress of Ireland when it sank in the St. Lawrence River on May 29, 1914.

All were separated, yet all but one survived, which was miraculous considering that most of those on board — 1,012 out of 1,477 — perished.

Yet their survival was bittersweet. One of the sons made a heroic effort to save his mother. In doing so, he lost his own life.

Canada’s History spoke with Ivany about a story her family wanted to forget:

Read more stories submitted by descendants of the passengers, crew, and rescuers at the Site historique maritime de la Pointe-au-Père.

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