Arctic expedition hopes to solve mystery of Canadian explorer who vanished nearly a century ago

National Post | News

Members of a scientific expedition heading to a remote corner of the Canadian Arctic will attempt to unravel a century-old mystery about a lost sailor and — if their luck and the weather hold out — recover his bones.

The vanished sea captain, P.E.I.-born Peter Bernard, had been a key figure in the Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913-18, a landmark quest to then-unknown parts of the North that put new islands on the world map, produced a major national research collection of plant and animal specimens and strengthened the country’s hold on its far-flung Arctic possessions.

But the 1913 expedition, strongly backed by then-prime minister Robert Borden and led by the controversial, Manitoba-born explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson, also suffered the tragic loss of 11 men and its flagship, the Karluk, as well as six other deaths over five years — including that of Capt. Bernard in 1917, somewhere around the northwest…

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