Last piece of the Franklin Expedition potentially discovered in the Canadian Arctic

News Release

The discovery of HMS Terror would be important for Inuit communities and Canada, reflecting the valuable role of Inuit knowledge.

September 14, 2016                           Ottawa, ON                                 Parks Canada Agency

The Government of Canada is enthusiastic over the potential discovery of HMS Terror. This extraordinary find underscores the importance of Inuit knowledge and would make a significant contribution to completing the fascinating story of the lost Franklin Expedition. 

Mission Erebus and Terror 2016 built on the success of previous missions and the collaboration with the Government of Nunavut, local communities and other public, private and non-profit partners.

Parks Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Coast Guard, will validate the find at the earliest operational window. Once confirmed, the Government of Canada will discuss the protection of the site with the Government of Nunavut and its Inuit partners.

Locating the HMS Terror is only the initial step of the research that will need to be conducted. Parks Canada's Underwater Archeology team, along with the Canadian Coast Guard, the Canadian Hydrographic Service, the Royal Canadian Navy, and other partners, will investigate this new wreck site on future missions to reveal more details and develop a better understanding of this important story for Canada and the world.

Parks Canada and the Kitikmeot Inuit Association will continue to negotiate the Impact and Benefits Agreements to ensure that benefits for Inuit are realized as a result of the Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site, which would include HMS Terror. Through the Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement, Parks Canada and the Kitikmeot Inuit Association will work together on the development and co-operative management of the National Historic Site.

The Government of Canada will continue to engage Nunavut communities in the Franklin project and related initiatives, in both the short and long term.


“The multi-year contribution from Parks Canada and its partners in the Arctic has led to the discovery of two of the most famous and mysterious ships in Canada’s history. HMS Erebus was found through a unique combination of Inuit traditional knowledge and cutting-edge science, and Inuit knowledge was again central to this amazing discovery. This latest discovery will offer another unique and incredible opportunity for archeological exploration and the sharing of Inuit history and culture with the world.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna,
Minister of the Environment and Climate Chance and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

“I share the pride of all Canadians in the role ‎of the Canadian Hydrographic Service, the Canadian Coast Guard and the important collaboration and contribution of local Inuit communities in the search for the lost Franklin ships.‎ We congratulate all the partners on the work completed and are excited to offer our continued expertise to this project. “

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc,
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“The discovery of HMS Terror showcases the excellent cooperation between governmental departments in Canada’s North. The Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Rangers were instrumental in the search and I am very proud of the expertise they contributed.  As the Royal Canadian Navy continues to expand its ability to conduct northern operations, this discovery is an important link with our country’s naval heritage and reminds us of the sacrifices of brave sailors who ventured into uncharted waters.”

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan,
Minister of National Defence

Quick facts

  • Since 2008, there have been eight major Parks Canada-led searches for the lost Franklin Expedition ships, pain-stakingly covering many hundreds of square kilometres of the Arctic seabed.
  •  The ongoing work to find and study the ships of the Franklin expedition bring together the Government of Canada and public, private and non-profit organizations. They are made possible through the use of both state-of-the-art technology and Inuit oral history.

  • Throughout the various expeditions and searches for HMS Erebus and Terror, considerable data on the northern seafloor was gathered.  This knowledge will assist in northern naval operations with the pending introduction of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships.

  • National historic sites tell the stories of who we are, including the history, cultures and contributions of Indigenous Peoples. The Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site will be the first cooperatively-managed national historic site in Nunavut.

Associated link

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Caitlin Workman
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Parks Canada

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