Skip navigation links (access key: Z)Library and Archives Canada - Bibliothèque et Archives Canada Canada
Home > Browse Selected Topics > SOS! Canadian Disasters FranÁais

Archived Content

This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.

Banner: SOS! Canadian Disasters
IntroductionDisaster Media ReportsSearchHelpWaterEarthAirFireIce


First Warning Did Not Reach City Until Early in Evening


Amazement Expressed at News After False Optimism - Gazette Besieged by Searchers for Information

Extraordinary excitement was manifest throughout Montreal last night when the news of the dreadful disaster which had befallen the Titanic and so many of her passengers and crew became circulated. It soon became known that the optimistic reports of the day had proven false, and from early in the evening. The Gazette office was besieged with callers, including may who were in great anxiety as to the fate of relatives or friends.

Considerable amazement was expressed when the tremendous extent of the disaster became known, the more so as it became apparent that while newspapers here were publishing extra after extra with news that the big ship was being towed to port and that her passengers had been removed to other vessels, the ships was really at the bottom of the Atlantic with upwards of 1,300 of her population. It was not until the evening that a brief dispatch arrived with the laconic information that the Titanic had sunk at 2.20 yesterday morning that it became certain the disaster had been worse than had been even feared. Then by degrees dispatches accumulated their tales of horror until finally it was estimated that probably only about 860 had been saved.

The only additional information Mr. James Thom, manager of the local White Star office, could communicate at a late hour last night, was an unconfirmed report from the New York offices of his company to the effect that some of the Titianicís passengers, number not stated, had been saved on board the Allan liners Virginian and Parisian.

Mr. Thom was asked yesterday afternoon what was his opinion of the cause of the accident. He replied that ice would not be expected so far south and east at this period of the year, and that its presence where the Titanic sand was most unusual so early in the season.

Asked whether it was true the White Star did their own insuring, Mr. Thom replied it was, confirming a statement made so recently as last Saturday by the assistant manager of the local offices, which was that the insurance department of the company had for many years shown handsome profits. The assistant manager, Mr. P.V.G. Mitchell, left for Halifax at noon yesterday, where he will be able to look after any of the Titanicís rescued passengers who may be brought to that port by the Parisian.

In shipping circles yesterday great sympathy was expressed with Captain Smith, who formerly commanded the Olympic, but had been promoted to the command of the Titanic on her maiden voyage. Captain Smith was a general favorite with all who knew him, and though no information is yet to hand with regard to the identity of those who have been lost, it is regarded as certain that Captain Smith will be amongst them.


Titanic sinking at 2.30 a.m. yesterday and Virginian arriving too late to render any assistance, would continue her voyage east, was the opinion of Mr. George Hannah, passenger traffic manager of the Allan line, last night. Mr. Hannah was also of opinion that besides the passengers reported safe on the Carpathia, the latter boat and the Allan liner Parisian would cruise round the wreckage for the chance of picking up any survivors who might be on rafts or clinging to spars or barrels.

The only chance apparently of there being any survivors over and above those whom the Carpathia will bring is that the Parisian and Virginian may have succeeded in rescuing some.

One of the passengers on the ill-fated titanic was Mr. Leopold Weiss, the well-known sculptor of the Bromsgrove Guild (Canada), Limited, who was returning to Montreal after a two monthsí holiday in Europe. Mr. Weiss was recently commissioned to carve the two panels on the facade of the Art Associationís new building on Sherbrooke Street.

It was reported yesterday afternoon that the rescued passengers from the Titanic were being brought into Halifax and the C.P.R. and Grand Trunk at once made arrangements to run special trains for their accommodation from Halifax to Montreal. The Intercolonial was also arranging to run a special from Moncton for the same purpose, but on the news coming to hand that all or nearly all those saved would probably be on the Cunarder Carpathia, and would therefore be taken to New York, the orders that had been given for the special trains to Halifax were cancelled.