Franklin's doomed high Arctic expedition subject of upcoming UTM lecture

Sailboat in a sea of arctic ice
Thursday, August 17, 2017 - 9:17am
UTM News

The mysteries surrounding the lives and deaths of the explorers aboard doomed ships searching for the Northwest Passage 170 years ago will be discussed at a free public lecture Thursday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m. in the Instructional Centre, room 120, U of T Mississauga, 3359 Mississauga Rd. 

Explorers on Ice: The Last Mysteries of Sir John Franklin’s Third Arctic Expedition will examine the catastrophic loss of Franklin’s final expedition – why and how the unprecedented disaster occurred. The presentation by Professor Robert Park of the University of Waterloo will describe how Inuit testimony and recent archeological investigations have contributed to the understanding of the lives and deaths of some of these explorers.

Park, associate dean of arts at Waterloo, is an archeological anthropologist specializing in Arctic cultures. His research examines the Inuit and their way of life over the past 5,000 years as well as early European exploration of the Canadian Arctic from the 1800s through to the 1930s. Park played a crucial role in the recent discovery of the shipwrecks from the lost Franklin Expedition. Currently, he is assisting the Nunavut government in the land-based component of the archeological research.

In 1845, Franklin set sail from England with two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, in search of a Northwest Passage across what is now Canada’s Arctic. In 2014, an expedition led by Parks Canada found the long-lost wreck of Erebus. Two years later, the wreck of Terror was discovered.

The public lecture by Park will be followed by a multidisciplinary Arctic symposium on Friday, Sept. 22. The symposium will focus on environmental change, Arctic sovereignty, northern health and food security, and polar bear ecology and conservation, and will wrap up with an evening poster session showcasing graduate student research.

The two-day event, Canada’s Changing Arctic: Walking on Thin Ice, is hosted by a number of UTM departments, led by the Department of Geography. The event is supported by UTM’s 50th anniversary.



Blake Eligh

Office of Communications

U of T Mississauga