The Discovery of Sir John Franklin’s Flagship HMS Erebus: A Significant Scientific and Historical Accomplishment in 2014

OTTAWA, Dec. 28, 2014 /CNW/ – The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today highlighted the incredible discovery related to Sir John Franklin’s ships, including the identification of HMS Erebus and recovery of the ship’s bell, as a significant scientific and historical accomplishment in 2014.

This historic discovery represents the crowning achievement of the successful 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition. As the most ambitious search organized to date, the 2014 Expedition brought together partners from public, private and not-for-profit sectors, and utilized a unique combination of Inuit traditional knowledge and modern technology to solve one of the world’s greatest maritime mysteries.

Franklin’s 1845 search to find the Northwest Passage and the ships he commanded, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, are an important part of Canadian history. The discovery of HMS Erebus has captivated Canadians and the entire world and serves to highlight Canada’s Arctic sovereignty, our scientific expertise and partnerships, and our respect for Aboriginal peoples’ traditional knowledge.

Quick Facts on This Significant Accomplishment

  • Since 2008, the Government of Canada has conducted six major Parks Canada-led searches for Sir John Franklin’slost ships, painstakingly covering many hundreds of square kilometres of the Arctic seabed.
  • The Government of Canada’s partners for the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition included Parks Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Canadian Coast Guard, Canadian Hydrographic Service), the Royal Canadian Navy, Defence Research and Development Canada, Environment Canada (Canadian Ice Service), and the Canadian Space Agency, as well as the Governments of Nunavut and the United Kingdom. Private and non-profit partners included the Arctic Research Foundation, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society who additionally brought in The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, Shell Canada and One Ocean Expeditions as partners.
  • The initial discovery of one of Franklin’s ships, made by side-scan sonar towed from the Parks Canada research vessel Investigator, was confirmed on September 7, 2014, using Parks Canada’s remotely operated vehicle. OnSeptember 30, 2014, it was confirmed that the ship is HMS Erebus.
  • On November 6, the bell recovered from HMS Erebus during dives and archaeological investigation by Parks Canada’s underwater archaeology team in September was unveiled. The artifact has been undergoing conservation stabilization and additional research since then.
  • On December 18, Parks Canada and the Royal Ontario Museum announced a collaboration to create The Franklin Project, a programme featuring pop-up displays, lectures, and exhibitions that will incorporate contemporary research and technology and Inuit traditional knowledge to bring the Franklin story to life and connect Canadians to this incredible tale. The centrepiece of the programme features a 3D printed replica of the bell recovered from HMSErebus.
  • William Battersby, author and a leading historian on the Franklin Expedition, called locating one of Franklin’s lost ships “the biggest archaeological discovery the world has seen since the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb almost 100 years ago.” (


“The discovery of Franklin’s ship, HMS Erebus, is a significant scientific and historical accomplishment and a defining moment for our nation and has special importance for all Canadians. Our Government shares the pride in this incredible achievement made possible by the Inuit traditional knowledge and looks forward to further discoveries in 2015 and to helping connect Canadians to this incredible shared heritage.”

~ The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq,
Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Associated Links

Harper Government and Royal Ontario Museum formalize partnership to bring the story of the Franklin Expedition to Canadians

Harper Government Announces the Recovery of the HMS Erebus Bell

PM announces HMS Erebus as the discovered Franklin Expedition ship

Governments of Canada and Nunavut celebrate Franklin Expedition Discoveries in Gjoa Haven

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada announcing the discovery of one of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition Ships lost in 1846

Minister Aglukkaq Announces 2014 Search for Franklin Expedition

Royal Canadian Geographical Society – The 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition

SOURCE Parks Canada