Cornwall Home To Canada’s Largest Titanic Artifact Collection

By Bob Peters
April 13, 2012

Rene Bergeron - Titanic CollectorIt’s been 100 years since the Titanic sank, but the majestic ship’s legacy is very much alive. The story of the ship’s tragic 1912 maiden voyage continues to pique the interest of millions of people in Canada and around the world.

Cornwall’s own Rene Bergeron can take some credit for that. The businessman began collecting Titanic artifacts about 25 years ago, and his collection has now grown to over 1,000 items – the largest collection in Canada. Just how many artifacts does he own?

“I stopped counting after 1,000,” Mr. Bergeron says with a laugh.

Amongst his massive collection, Mr. Bergeron said there are two items that are especially dear to him – a cup and saucer from the ship and a piece of wood from the grand staircase inside the Titanic. Both of the items were donated to him by a friend and fellow collector in the U.S. when they decided to sell off their collection. Mr. Bergeron had saved the collector some money by warning him about fake artifacts in the past, and the collector returned the favour by giving him the artifacts as a gift.

“I was speechless,” Mr. Bergeron recalls. “He said he knew they would be in good hands.”

Each April, Mr. Bergeron puts his collection on display in the family’s second-generation business, Bergeron Sleep Shop on First Street East. People are welcome to drop by and view the collection free of charge during the week leading up to the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. This year’s display wraps up on April 14th.

Mr. Bergeron said he has noticed a heightened interest in the Titanic this year given that it’s the centennial anniversary. Over the past several days, he has welcomed numerous school groups to his business. People have also arrived from Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.

For those who aren’t able to attend in person, you can learn more about the collection on Facebook by visiting the Titanic Collection by Rene Bergeron Group page. The page includes photos of various pieces in Mr. Bergeron’s collection. Also, Mr. Bergeron was in front of the camera for a new CBC documentary entitled “Titanic: the Canadian Story.”  You can watch the documentary online by visiting the CBC website.

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