Thematic Guides - Ship - Empress of Ireland

This guide consists of specific references to sources on the Empress of Ireland.

The Empress of Ireland was launched in 1906 and had a fine reputation as one of Canadian Pacific's most luxurious ships. On May 29, 1914, it struck the Norwegian collier S.S. Storstad and sank within fifteen minutes. Over 1,000 people were lost and it remains one of the worst shipping disasters in Canadian history.

This guide was revised in September 2000.

Government Records

Records of the Marine Branch (RG 42)

The Marine Branch was responsible for Enquiries into causes of Shipwrecks.

  • Proceedings of the Official Inquiry, 1914
    (RG 42, vols. 351-354, 2164 pp.; a second copy is available in RG 42, vols. 574-579) The Official Report and Evidence were published by the Canadian Government in Sessional Paper No. 21B for the year 1915 (Sessional Papers of the Dominion).
  • Empress of Ireland investigation, 1914-1915
    (RG 42, vol. 229, file 35532, parts A and B, about 360 pp.)
  • Recommendations arising from the wreck of the Empress of Ireland, 1914-1916
    (RG 42, vol. 230, file 35566, about 50 pp.)
  • Missing Persons and Relief Fund, 1914-1925
    (RG 42, vol. 230, file 35628, about 40 pp.)
  • Salvage of cargo, 1914-1918
    (RG 42, vol. 232, file 35762, about 40 pp.)
  • Inquiry accounts, 1914-1916
    (RG 42, vol. 233, file 35819, about 120 pp.)

Records of the Post Office (RG 3)

  • Salvage of mail from the wreck of the Empress of Ireland, 1914-1916
    (RG 3, vol. 633, file 69265, about 140 pp.)
    Includes a detailed list of items recovered.

Records of the Governor General's Office (RG 7)

  • Governor General's office file, including correspondence, reports and memoranda concerning the sinking of the Empress of Ireland, 1914-1915
    (RG 7, series G21, vol. 421, file 13425, reel T-2300)

Selected Private Records

  • Commission of inquiry into casualty to S.S. Empress of Ireland sunk in collision with S.S. Storstad in the River St. Lawrence
    (MG 28 III 38, Gravel et AssociƩs, vols. 19-20, parts 1-12)
  • Canadian Salvage Association vs. 251 Bars of Silver ex S.S. Empress of Ireland and Sea Insurance Company et al.
    (MG 28 III 38, Gravel et AssociƩs, vol. 16, parts 1-4)
  • Company minutes, memoranda and correspondence relating to the negotiations terminating in the acquisition of the Allan Line by the Canadian Pacific Steamship Line
    (MG 28 III 23, Canadian Pacific Steamship Line collection, finding aid 586)
  • Canadian Pacific Railway Co. ticket for passage from Liverpool, England to Victoria, British Columbia, 1913, on the steamship Empress of Ireland
    (MG 55 30, no. 105)

Selected Photographic Records

  • S.S. Storstad after collision with Empress of Ireland, 1914
    (William Kaye Lamb photograph collection, acc. 1967-043 and 1957-044)
  • Photographs of the S.S. Storstad
    (Department of Justice fonds, acc. 1979-094)
  • Photographs of the Empress of Ireland
    (Transport Canada, Marine collection, acc. 1982-241)
  • S.S. Empress of Ireland ship wreck postal cover [philatelic records], 1914
    (Norma M. Ferrabee collection, acc. 1992-066)
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