The Empress of Ireland was one of the largest ships built in1906. She was made in the John Brown Shipyards up in the Clyde and was made for the upstart Canadian Pacific Railways Line. Although she did not have the prestigious Southhampton to New York route, this beautiful liner plied the North Atlantic between Liverpool and Quebec City and made countless trips without incidence.
In 1914, the new captain of the Empress of Ireland was Captain Henry Kendall. Captain Kendall had taken over the ship only four weeks earlier and he was preparing for returning to England on a mild day of May 29th, 1914. Captain Kendall had an impeccable record as a ship captain and had been a captain of several other Canadian Pacific liners before the Empress. While captaining the Montrose in 1909, he was instrumental in capturing the famed murderer Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen. It is rumored that Dr. Crippen was so inflamed over his capture that he set a curse on Captain Kendall.
The Empress of Ireland was about 550 feet long, 65 feet wide and weighed almost 15,000 tons. She had capacity for 1860 passengers and was used primarily for new immigrants coming to Canada. Because she spent so much time within the close boundaries of Canada, it was believed that she was a very safe ship that only had 4 days of travel in open ocean sailing.