A horse-drawn carriage carries a period-style casket followed by pallbearers through the streets of Halifax to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of RMS Titanic on Saturday, April 14, 2011.(Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
I went to the Titanic "parade"in Halifax NS on Saturday night, down on the waterfront. Halifax was the port where 209 of the victims from the Titanic were brought after being retrieved. 150 of these bodies were eventually buried in Halifax.
The event started one hour late. The horse drawn "hearse" was really a waggon from Hatfield Farms. The candles were all fake electric. Still, the team of Percheron horses was wonderful and the folk in period costume were well done.The 'undertaker' driving the team had a black frock coat and black top hat but - alas - no black ribband around the hat. There was a plain, grey wooden box in the back. What ever the reason a half dozen present-day undertakers from Snow's Funeral Home (the funeral home which tended to the actual Titanic victims) marched behind the waggon.
As a macabre aside (and I generally favour the macabre but I just found this creepy) there were meals to be had featuring the last meal of the Titanic in some restaurants. One of these main restaurants was The Five Fishermen. At the time the Titanic sank, Snow's Funeral Home was in the building The Five Fishermen now occupy. So - literally - the coffins were stacked in the same room the patrons were chowing down on The Titanic's last meal.
One new thing I did learn, happened when one of the people crowded around the 'hearse' opined that there would have been no women undertakes in 1912. The group following the waggon did have one woman. A member of the real undertaker group said that that was not true. Indeed, two women embalmers from Saint John were brought in by train to help with the vast numbers of dead.
There was also a pipe band. All this took nearly three hours and I did not stay for the events in the Parade Ground (I read that the memorial bells for 12:15 were themselves an hour late). Anyway, I go by the day of the week and not the date, so for me the Titanic hit the iceberg on Sunday night and sank Monday morning. That is how all those people would have been thinking about it.