For today, more from the recent vacation cruise. The cruise ship docked at Halifax, Nova Scotia. I wanted to find a good lunch place in Halifax, for some fresh seafood and lobster.
Out came my trusty iPad. And that’s where I found some history, and a place to eat. It all started with a restaurant called Five Fishermen.
It’s really the building that is history. It has a connection to the Halifax explosion (which I did not remember), and then there is that well known tragedy called the sinking of the Titanic.
The Five Fishermen Restaurant is upstairs in a building that was originally built for a schoolhouse (1817). Across the street is St Paul’s Anglican Church, which is the oldest building in Halifax and also part of this story.
Here’s what the building used to look like:
And here is the picture of the building that I took after lunch
Now, on to the history of why it was connected to the Titanic. It’s why Halifax became known as the Titanic’s Undertaker.
At some point in the 1800’s, the building was converted from a school house to a Funeral Home/mortuary. In 1912 when the R.M.S Titanic went down off the coast of Newfoundland about 700 miles from Halifax, the owner of the funeral home boarded a ship called the MacKay-Bennett and took 125 coffins with him.
While rescue operations took place, this undertaker began preparations to gather bodies and bring them back to the funeral home. out of the nearest mainland port – Halifax. Some of the wealthier victims from first class, such as John Jacob Astor IV, and Charles M. Hayes, the president of Grand Trunk Railway, were brought to Snows Funeral Home for funeral arrangements to be made.
Astor is quite a story himself. At the time of his death, he was considered one of the richest men in the world with a net worth of over 87 million. Today, that is about the equivalent of over 2 billion dollars.
Even in death, those first class passengers who did not get a seat on one of the lifeboats, were treated differently then the 2nd and 3rd class passengers who had drowned. Those other passengers were taken to a nearby curling rink, where all the found bodies were collected as a massive group.
There is a long story about the collection of the bodies. Ultimately, there was a large funeral across the street at St. Paul’s. Upstairs at the restaurant, there are still ropes hanging from the ceiling where coffins were once attached, that remain from the days as a mortuary.
It was history with a meal! Downstairs at the building, lunch is served at Little Fish. Dinner is served upstairs at the Five Fishermen. And… the seafood was mighty fresh!
And for pic o’ day, this shell game makes me laugh