Exploration in the Canadian Arctic [Inuktitut Version]

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MP-0000.50.1 M993X.5.1358.2 M993X.5.1357 P316_A.03 MP-0000.597.111 M993X.5.1348.2 MP-0000.597.209 M989.89.1 M993X.5.1349.2
 
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Photograph
Hudson's Bay Co's cinematographer filming ship, about 1919
Captain George E. Mack
About 1919, 20th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Gelatin silver process
8 x 11 cm
Gift of Mrs. R. Mack
MP-0000.597.111
© McCord Museum
Description
Keywords:  boat (111) , cinematographer (1) , equipment (19) , Occupation (1110) , Photograph (77678) , S. S. Nascopie (1) , steamer (37) , transportation (338) , tripod (4) , work (389) , work (126)
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Keys to History

Despite all the preparations and retrofits, the ships that set off in the 19th and 20th centuries to explore the Arctic were often powerless against the northern ice, the obstacle most feared by captains and their crews. And even though over the years sailors came up with all kinds of innovations to get through the ice (cutting a channel with saws or blasting open a passage with dynamite), at the end of the polar summer, many ships became trapped and drifted helplessly for months in the pack, a mass of large pieces of floating ice driven together. They could only hope that the pressure of the pack ice would not damage the ship, or even worse, crush it like a nut in a nutcracker, before the saving spring warmth arrived. Even the most recent ships, like the S.S. Nascopie, were vulnerable to pack ice.

  • What

    The S.S. Nascopie was a steamer launched in the early 20th century by the Hudson's Bay Company, which used it as a supply ship.

  • Where

    The S.S. Nascopie delivered provisions to fur traders and Inuit at some twenty trading posts in the Far North, especially in the eastern Arctic and on Hudson Bay, including Port Burwell, Lake Harbour, Cape Wolstenholme, Charlton Island and Moose Factory.

  • When

    The S.S. Nascopie sank on July 22, 1947, after hitting an unidentified reef off Cape Dorset, Baffin Island.

  • Who

    When this photo was taken, the captain of the S.S. Nascopie was George E. Mack (1887-1941). He commanded the ship from 1905 to 1927 and later became superintendent of the Hudson's Bay Company.