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Only Canadian community named after the Titanic is in Saskatchewan
Published Monday, April 16, 2012 10:14AM CST
Signs of life are disappearing from the small hamlet of titanic Saskatchewan. The post office, the church, and the school are all long gone. Only this memorial stands as a final bulwark preventing this place named after the mighty ship from sinking into oblivion. "It's pretty much disappeared now…it's thinly peopled. It was never a very big place," said Bill Barry, author of the book People Places.
The hamlet was settled by French Canadians and originally called Mourey after a local catholic priest. But in 1912, the year the titanic sank, the community's postmaster applied to have its name changed to Titanic to honour the victims of the tragedy. But close to 30 other Canadian communities also applied for the name that year. Barry says "Since his was the first application to arrive it was approved and Mourey Saskatchewan became Titanic."
This community, which was all but abandoned after the post office closed in 1967 isn't Saskatchewan's only connection to the titanic. A Regina scientist was recently featured on the discovery channel for his research on the rust icicles that are eating the ship's hull. Roy Cullimore has been on 6 titanic expeditions. He says "She is an icon. There is something special, and I don't know what the heck it is, but when you go to the site, it grabs you."
The rust icicles, or rusticles, are webs of microbes on the ship. There are over 650 tons of them on the ship. Cullimore is one of the only people on the planet allowed to take rusticles off the titanic. He says "The decking is starting to go, and there is an implosion, so about one hundred years from now we will just see a gradual collapse."
For author Bill Barry there is a strange connection between the decaying ship and the abandoned hamlet. But even though the titanic sank over 5 thousand kilometers away in the Atlantic Ocean, its name will be forever interwoven into the history of Saskatchewan.