Halifax and The Titanic

Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia is Atlantic Canada’s largest metropolitan area and busiest port. Founded in 1749 by General George Corwallis and 2,500 settlers, Halifax was planned as Britain’s military centre north of Boston, USA.

Today, Halifax is an affluent, buzzing city with a fabulous olde worlde pub district and rich maritime heritage, with lingering memories of the sinking of The Titanic – an event which took place 99 years ago in 1912 and is still talked about today.

An iceberg in the North Atlantic on April 14, 1912 sank the Titanic .The ship was 700 nautical miles east of Halifax, at the time and it was first thought the damaged ship could dock  here and rescue  efforts were also launched from here .The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax has a permanent display devoted to the Titanic.

One hundred and twenty one victims of the RMS Titanic sinking are interred at Fairview Cemetery. Most of them are marked with a small grey granite marker giving their name and date of death. Some families donated money for bigger grave markers, and there is a large marker for the “unknown child” who was unidentified but buried with funds supplied by the sailors who rescued his tiny body. The occupants of a third of the graves have never been identified – their markers state the date of death and marker number.

A grave marked “J. Dawson” gained brief fame following the release of the 1997 film“Titanic” as the name of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character was “Jack Dawson”. Film director James Cameron said the character’s name was not inspired by the grave. Di Caprio’s character was in fact partly based on real life writer Jack London, who lived in the Titanic era and was best known for such works as “White Fang” and “Call of the Wild”. When the film was first released, sobbing film fans moved by the story, left flowers and mementoes at Dawson’s grave and transformed it into a shrine to Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s said the grave belongs to Joseph Dawson, an Irishman who worked in Titanic’s boiler room.

Twenty-nine other Titanic victims are also buried in Halifax; 19 in the Roman Catholic Mount Olivet Cemetery and 10 in the Jewish Baron de Hirsch Cemetery.


RMS Titanic, a British passenger liner, operated by the White Star Line, sank after striking an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City.. Of the estimated 2,224 passengers and crew aboard, more than 1,500 died, making it the deadliest sinking of a single ship up to that time. It remains the deadliest peacetime sinking of an ocean liner or cruise ship.