titanic survivor toronto

House belonging to a Titanic survivor still stands in Toronto

There's a house still standing in Toronto where a Titanic survivor and her family used to live during the 1920's. 

Emma Bliss lived at 1063 Davenport Road in 1923, according to Encyclopedia Titanica, a crowdsourced community-based project that's been collecting research on the Titanic for 25 years. 

In this house she lived with her husband Ernest and three children Amy, Henry, and Ernest Jr. 

Today, the house is being used for a French tutoring school, although on the exterior of the home, a piece of Bliss' history remains: an old-fashioned mail slot near the bottom of the front door. 

Originally born in Switzerland, Bliss was living in England when she signed up to work as a stewardess for the Titanic on April 6, 1912. 

Just nine days later, Bliss would go on to survive the sinking of the Titanic on April 15 after as the ship hit an iceberg allowing water to seep in. 

A Toronto Star article from 1939 says Bliss was saved by a lifeboat along with another member of the crew named Sgt. John Collins. 

"I remember him distinctly...he was at the rudder and had only a pair of overalls and a thin cotton vest on," Bliss said about Collins in 1939.

"There was a lady, well wrapped up with a fur coat over her arm. I asked her to give it to Mr. Collins, and she did, but he didn't keep it long. There was a woman with just a nightgown on and when Sgt. Collins saw her, he immediately gave her the coat," Bliss added. 

Following the disaster, Bliss migrated to Canada in 1913 with her daughter Amy, where she would join her husband and two sons who had already been living here. 

Bliss never returned to working on ships. While living in the Davenport home, she was a housewife: taking care of chores around the house and raising her children, while her husband Ernest worked as a chef and frequently crossed the border to work in America.

Bliss resided in Toronto for the rest of her life. By 1932 she had left the Davenport home and then lived at 42 Durant Avenue in East York. 

Sgt. Samuel John Collins put together a reunion for himself and three other Titanic survivors who were living in Toronto at the time, including Bliss, the Toronto Star reported in 1939. 

titanic survivor toronto

All four Titanic survivors pictured, from left to right (Madeline Mellinger, Sgt. Samuel John Collins, Emma Bliss, Elizabeth Mellinger (centre). Photo: Originally published in the Edmonton Journal (1939), now a division of Postmedia Network Inc. accessed through the public domain. 

All four survivors met at the Royal York Hotel to have dinner together on the same day the ship went down 27 years before that. 

In 1959, while she was in the hospital, Bliss was invited to watch "A Night to Remember," which was a 1958 film adaptation of the Titanic disaster. 

Paris-Presse, a newspaper from France covered a story about this event, saying Bliss could not help but to cry as she relived the tragic moments from decades before. 

Bliss died at the age of 93 on June 18, 1959 at Never's Nursing Home in Toronto. 

titanic survivor toronto

Emma Bliss' grave pictured here located at Prospect Cemetery. Photo by: Lily Contento 

The grave where she was buried alongside her daughter Amy can still be found today at Prospect Cemetery located at St. Clair and Lansdowne. 

Lead photo by

Breanna Xavier-Carter 


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