Mystery Surrounding Franklin Expedition Focus of Weekend Fundraiser
Prince George, B.C. – It’s one of Canada’s best known mysteries – and its story will be the focus of the tomorrow night’s annual Dr. Bob Ewert Memorial Lecture and Dinner.
Dr. Martin Magne, the keynote speaker, will discuss the investigation into the Franklin Expedition – which famously set off in search of the Northwest Passage in 1845 before both ships and their crew (129 men) were ultimately lost
However, after more than 160 years, the HMS Erebus was discovered in 2014 while the HMS Terror was found two years later.
Magne was the Director of the Archaeology and History Branch with Parks Canada during the discoveries and met with local media today.
“I fell off my chair,” said Magne, when asked of his reaction to the first discovery. “I started crying. Seriously, we couldn’t believe it. It was a completely emotional reaction. Like wow, we never dreamed it. Honestly, we weren’t ready. People had been looking for these wrecks for over 150 years and we have very systematic search methods and then we found it.”
Asked why he thinks the story has captured the imagination of so many Canadians, he explained it’s “a really interesting part of Canadian history.”
“It’s about the early stages of what Canada becomes from Britain and the North and the sovereignty questions,” said Magne.
“The role of the Inuit. There’s so many facets to this whole story. Franklin himself had a role in Canadian exploration and history for a long time. He had two previous overland voyages well before this and he even became governor of Tasmania for nine years. So, it’s all Canadian history in all it’s intermingling’s.”
The Ewert Dinner is the largest fundraiser for the Northern Medical Programs Trust, which assists students at UNBC in the Northern Collaborative Baccalaureate Nursing Program, the Master of Science in Nursing program and the Northern Medical Program.
To date, the Trust has provided more than 500 grants to help health-care students pursue unique clinical placements in northern and rural communities as part of their studies.
The event honours Dr. Bob Ewert, who was the first medical specialist to practice in Prince George.