Great Ottawa Gifts: Lost Beneath the Ice

Do you have readers in the family? Lost Beneath the Ice is a brand new book you’ll want to put on the holiday shopping list. And if you have history buffs to buy for, you might want to pick up two or three copies.

Images supplied by Parks Canada

Written by best-selling Ottawa-based author Andrew Cohen, Lost Beneath the Ice tells one of the most intriguing stories in Canadian history. It’s about the discovery of the missing HMS Investigator, a ship that had been commissioned 160 years earlier to search for survivors of the Franklin expedition. The book also highlights the work of Parks Canada underwater archeologists Marc-André Bernier and Ryan Harris, who are both Ottawa residents.

According to the book synopsis at, “When Sir John Franklin disappeared in the Arctic in the 1840s, the British Admiralty launched the largest rescue mission in its history. Among the search vessels was HMS Investigator, which left England in 1850 under the command of Captain Robert McClure. While the ambitious McClure never found Franklin, he and his crew did discover the fabled Northwest Passage.


Like Franklin’s ships, though, Investigator disappeared in the most remote, bleak and unknown place on Earth. For three winters, its 66 souls were trapped in the unforgiving ice of Mercy Bay. They suffered cold, darkness, starvation, scurvy, boredom, depression and madness. When they were rescued in 1853, Investigator was abandoned.”

Investigator’s whereabouts were unknown for the next 16 decades. Then Parks Canada sent archaeologists on its trail in 2010 and they found it, off the shoreline at Aulavik National Park.

Lost Beneath the Ice is an incredible tale that comes to life with the aid of archival images and riveting underwater photos. ISBN-13: 978-1459719491


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