In the papers
Immediately following the sinking, the main Victoria papers (the Daily Colonist and the Victoria Times) published a series of short death notices and obituaries to acknowledge the recently deceased. For the more local and/or prominent victims, the papers provided longer, more detailed articles, accompanied with photographs. Please see Obituaries for a list of the deceased who were honoured in the Victoria papers, along with biographies and photographs where available.
Along with biographies and photographs, two poems to the deceased appeared in the Daily Colonist. “The Harbor of Eternity” appeared in the Daily Colonist on 1 November 1918, not long after the sinking (see above). The second, titled “The Last Farewell” by M.C. Ironside of Nanaimo, BC, appeared over a year later on 2 February 1919. These poems serve as two of the few artistic commemorations of the period that were dedicated to the Sophia.
By the end of the year, the Sophia’s memorialization began to taper off. In the New Year’s Eve edition of the Daily Colonist, an issue usually reserved for remembering notable events of the past year, there is no mention of the Sophia sinking. The Victoria Times is somewhat better: on page 17 the Sophia is listed along with other wrecks of the year, such as the Galiano, and the author concedes that the Sophia constituted “the most disastrous catastrophe in Pacific Coast shipping annals.”1 Perhaps it is too much to ask for anything more. Maybe December 31 was still too close to the event, wounds too fresh, for any real commemoration. Yet, it seems paltry to commemorate the worst maritime disaster in Pacific Coast history with only two short paragraphs. Even a year later, on the one year anniversary of the tragic event, neither the Victoria Times nor the Daily Colonist mention the Princess Sophia even once.
Contemporary memorialization of the Princess Sophia is few and far between, especially in Victoria. The following is a list of memorial pieces which have been created for the S.S. Sophia:
Daniel Halen’s song, “The Princess Sophia.” Posted 7 January of this year (2014). Click here to view
BC Maritime Museum. Please see our page on the BC Maritime Museum to read more about them and their centennial exhibit on the Princess Sophia, coming in 2018. This will be the first local commemorative piece.
1. Victoria Times, 31 December 1918, 17.↩