Recreation therapy staff Karen Baker and Jenessa Dunkle dressed up for the tea on the Titanic, held on the 109th anniversary of the sinking of the vessel.
photo submitted

Recreation therapy staff Karen Baker and Jenessa Dunkle dressed up for the tea on the Titanic, held on the 109th anniversary of the sinking of the vessel. photo submitted

109 years after the sinking, the Titanic disaster is still remembered in Castor

Residents of Castor’s long term care facility were treated to an immersive celebration of the vessel

By Kevin J. Sabo

For the Advance

When the RMS Titanic slipped its lines and departed Southampton, England on its maiden voyage on April 10th, 1912, no one knew that she would never return.

On the evening of April 14th, the ship was navigating an area of the North Atlantic known for icebergs, when one appeared in the Titanic’s path. Due to the ships speed and decreased visibility that fateful night, the mighty liner was unable to navigate around the obstruction in time, striking the iceberg on the ship’s starboard (right) bow, causing fatal damage. Water began entering the ship, and her waterproof compartments would not save her.

By the early morning hours, the bow was low in the water, and the lifeboats were being launched. Unfortunately, there were lifeboats for only a fraction of the over 2,200 passengers and crew aboard, and even those being launched were nowhere near to full capacity.

When rescue ships finally arrived, 1,500 passengers were dead or dying, and the Titanic sat 3,700 metres below the ocean surface, broken in two. Her exact location would not be discovered for 74 years, when she was discovered by Dr. Robert Ballard.

Over 109 years later, the Titanic disaster is still remembered around the world, and this year the residents of Castor’s long term care facility were treated to an immersive celebration of the storied vessel, hosted by therapy assistant Jenessa Dunkle, and a few of her colleagues.

“The residents said they had never seen the (Titanic) movie before,” said Dunkle.

“I (said) we’re having a full-scale Titanic event – movie, education, and a tea on the Titanic, (taking) pretty much the whole week.”

With the help of colleagues, Dunkle started the week by presenting the 1997 film Titanic, directed by James Cameron, to the residents.

During the rest of the week, Dunkle took the residents through a virtual tour of ship, presented some documentaries featuring film of the actual ship and a variety of interviews with survivors of the tragedy.

On April 15th, the 109th anniversary of the tragedy, Dunkle and the other staff hosted a shipboard tea.

The dining room of the long-term care was converted into the deck of the Titanic, tea was served on fine china, and violin music was playing.

Dunkle and the rest of the recreation department dressed up in period garb, as did the residents. The bow of the ship was recreated using pylons, allowing the residents who dared to recreate the famous scene from the movie where the main characters posed at the bow of the ship, and a blowing fan completed the effect.

“They really liked it,” said Dunkle.

“They were really shocked when they came around the corner into the dining room and saw that it had been transformed into the ship.”

Dunkle said she got the idea because of a long-standing interest in the story of the ill-fated ship.

“I’ve always been interested in the Titanic,” said Dunkle. “I have interests or passions; they sometimes inspire the activities.”

Dunkle said she tries to do various activities throughout the year, themed for the season.

“When I think about activities, I want to do an activity that will stimulate many senses,” said Dunkle.

“That’s how I decide if an activity is going to be therapeutic or not.”

Other activities Dunkle has hosted for the residents include a recent theme park carnival day which included a virtual roller coaster – the roller coaster was projected onto a wall – and a variety of carnival games or seniors Olympics where the residents were split into teams and had to compete against each other.

Plans are already in the works for more activities in the facility, including an upcoming ‘Western Day’ sometime this summer.

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

Golf Club agreement back before council

The document, as presented, would also commit the Town of Castor to $10,000 a year in funding

Alberta is now below 3,000 active cases of COVID-19, as the province reported 2,639 Wednesday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer below 100 active COVID-19 cases for first time since March

69.7 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

The Sylvan Lake Gulls show off the home jerseys (white) and their way jerseys at the Gulls Media Day on June 17, before the season opener. Following the media day, the team took to the field for their first practise. (Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News)
Sylvan Lake Gulls ready to throw first pitch as construction continues

The Gulls inaugural season kicks off June 18 with a game against the Edmonton Prospects

Most Read