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Photograph of the four-masted motor vessel, ARCTIC, crushed in an ice pack five miles south of Barrow, Alaska (1924)


Four-masted motor vessel, Arctic, crushed in an ice pack five miles south of Barrow, Alaska, 1924


Shipwrecks, as historical events and as fascinating artefacts, have stimulated an interest in the maritime heritage of Canada for many decades. The discovery of the War of 1812 wrecks Hamilton and Scourge, found in Lake Ontario during the 1970s, and the discovery of the Titanic during the 1980s, served to heighten general public awareness of underwater archaeology and history. The activities of maritime museums, shipwreck associations and individual researchers have emphasized the importance of published and archival records as cardinal points for any investigation into shipwreck lore, location, salvage and preservation.

The Shipwreck Investigations at Library and Archives Canada Web exhibition plots a course through some of the unique shipwreck resources available at Library and Archives Canada. For anyone intrigued by these tales of tragedy and triumph, or for researchers pursuing an elusive, ill-fated vessel, this site provides samples of our maritime heritage through photographs, documentary art, maps and textual documents. This site also provides an introduction for anyone wishing to conduct first-hand shipwreck research at Library and Archives Canada, with information to assist your investigations into the photographic, cartographic and documentary evidence available at this institution.

Shipwreck InvestigationsThe Shipwreck Investigations Web exhibition provides direct access to a database of digitized marine casualty investigation records. These federal documents record proceedings of official shipwreck investigations conducted by the Marine Branch of the Department of Marine and Fisheries. The documents preserve the testimony of crew members, passengers and other witnesses to historical marine casualties -- the voices of shipwreck survivors spanning Canada's epic maritime experience, from inland waters to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

Cover of book, WRECK HUNTER: THE QUEST FOR LOST SHIPWRECKS, by Terry Dwyer (2004)


Wreck Hunter: The Quest for Lost Shipwrecks, by Terry Dwyer (2004)