Into the Mist
The Story of The Empress of Ireland
by Anne Renaud Dundurn, 2010
$14.99, 104 pp, b/w illustrations, glossary, ages 9+
Into the Mist recounts the story of the Empress of Ireland, a fast and elegant passenger liner launched by the CPR in 1906 as a vessel to transport people and mail across the Atlantic. She was one of the links in the CPR’s chain of transport between Great Britain and China, adding to the recently completed rail line across North America and the fleet of ships already sailing the Pacific to the orient. The Empress of Ireland and her sister ship the Empress of Britain brought many immigrants to Canada, helping to populate the new country that had been opened up by the railway. The ships sailed between Liverpool, England to either Quebec or Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, depending on the season and the ice in the St. Lawrence River. Tragically, in 1914 the Empress of Ireland was struck by another ship and sank in the St. Lawrence River in only fourteen minutes, with a greater loss of life than in the sinking of the Titanic.
Numerous black and white photographs, sidebars and reproduced documents such as newspaper clippings and the ship’s dining room menu help put the story of the Empress of Ireland into historical context. The author has also included personal profiles and photographs of people who sailed on the ship during her short but colourful life. This is an interesting story from Canada’s past, skillfully told in a style and format that young readers will find easily accessible and that will broaden their understanding of a critical time in Canada’s history.
Review by Diana Mumford.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s May/June 2011 issue.