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Marc-André Bernier; The Discovery of the Franklin Expedition’s Royal Navy Ships

Marc-André Bernier; The Discovery of the Franklin Expedition’s Royal Navy Ships
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Janet Bedford

Janet Bedford is a broker with Royal LePage in downtown Oakville, with 20 years of real estate experience. Along with helping her clients find the perfect home or sell their home, she is often found photographing the many events that take place in Oakville. She has written extensively for various publications.

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Marc-André Bernier, guest speaker at the sold-out Canadian Club of Halton dinner on January 26, 2017 considers himself a lucky man. As a member of the Parks Canada Underwater Archaeology Team since 1990 (26 years) and the Manager of the team for the past 8 years, he and his team played an integral role in the recent discoveries of the Franklin Expedition’s Royal Navy ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, in Canada’s Arctic.

Marc-André Bernier; The Discovery of the Franklin Expedition’s Royal Navy Ships with Barry Wylie & Webmaster Clayton Shold

Marc-André Bernier; The Discovery of the Franklin Expedition’s Royal Navy Ships with Barry Wylie & WebMaster Clayton Shold; Photo Credit: Janet Bedford

Sir John Franklin and his two ships, with a total compliment of 134 officers and men, set out in 1845 from England hoping to find the Northwest Passage across Canada’s Arctic. During the three years that the expedition was expected to last, both the ships and their crews vanished and since then many search expeditions have attempted to locate the missing ships. It is believed that the crew, stranded amid the arctic ice flows around Victoria Island in Nunavut, eventually abandoned the ships and set out on foot to find civilization, perishing in the attempt.

The HMS Erebus was discovered in September 2014 and the HMS Terror in 2016. These search expeditions brought together the Government of Canada as well as public, private and non-profit organizations. The use of state-of-the-art technology, Inuit knowledge and oral testimony made these historic discoveries possible.

Marc-André Bernier; Sunk Amid the Ice Flows; The Discovery of the Franklin Expedition’s Royal Navy Ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror; Photo Credit: Janet Bedford

It was interesting to hear Marc-André Bernier recount his experience – one of “countless, fruitless hours staring at a computer screen” of underwater images. As onlookers it is easy for us to make this appear glamorous – to him and the team there was boredom … lots of it … “until the day of the discovery of these ships, together with the knowledge that they were very intact.”

Marc-André Bernier was one of the first people to see and dive on the HMS Erebus after its discovery in 2014. Since then he has participated in subsequent return archaeological expeditions to the Erebus, and most recently the examination of the newly discovered wreck of HMS Terror this past September.


Plans are in place for 10 museums across Canada to soon have displays featuring HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.

To discover fascinating historical information on the Franklin Expedition, visit: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/culture/franklin/hist.aspx.

The Canadian Club of Halton’s next guest speaker on February 23 will be Dr. Julia Upton, MD, Staff Physician, Clinical Immunology & Allergy, Hospital for Sick Children; Assistant Professor, Department of Paediatrics, University of Toronto; Chair, Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Section, Canadian Society of Allergy and Immunology. Her topic will be “Food Allergy: Why, And What Can Be Done?”.

Reservations for the February 23 dinner, held at the Oakville Conference Centre, can be made by e-mail (barrywylie1@gmail.com), by telephone (905-827-6302) or by mail (cheques payable to the Canadian Club of Halton, 283 River Side Drive, Oakville, L6K 3N3). The Oakville Conference Centre is located at 2515 Wyecroft Road, Oakville, L6L 6P8 (QEW & Bronte Rd).

Visit www.canadianclubhalton.ca for pictures and more information.



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