Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct the source of the concept and image used.
A Titanic-themed development project that was previously reported as a proposal for the Halifax area won’t be happening.
Last week, Global News reported that Clark Squires & Associates was set to propose the ‘Titanic Experience Nova Scotia’ project, which was said to include educational, entertainment, lodging and dining experiences.
In an email on Thursday, CEO Clark Squires said the project will not be coming to the Halifax Regional Municipality.
“I will not be involved in any concepts or ideas anywhere for this initiative,” Squires wrote.
Because he is under a non-disclosure agreement, Squires said he is unable to comment further.
This week, Global News was advised that the concept of the ‘Titanic Experience’ and the image of the development rendering did not belong to Squires, but to Lex A. Parker of Lex Parker Design Consultants Ltd.
An email from Parker, who operates from Ontario, read in part:
“The concept in the rendering was for Experience Titanic, an attraction proposed for Niagara Falls, which included a tour of the ship through themed scenes to a gallery and museum with many interactive features.
Their description of proposed themed hotel rooms, restaurants, etc., was taken from another of our client’s proposals for a full scale ship in the Welland Canal, Ontario.”
Parker said his Experience Titanic concept was created for his client, David Van Velzen of DV3 Imagineering Inc. and The Titanic Project Inc.
“The name of the project ‘Experience Titanic’ is my client’s intellectual property and has also been used without permission,” Parker wrote.
Where the confusion began
Initially, Clark Squires had posted about the proposal on LinkedIn on June 6 and it created some buzz online.
When the RMS Titanic sank in 1912, an estimated 1,500 people lost their lives but only 337 bodies were recovered and nearly half are buried in Halifax. Halifax also played a significant role in responding to the sinking of the ship during its maiden voyage, as the city sent three ships out to help with the recovery.
Squires admitted at the time he did not intend the news of the proposal to be publicized before it was completed, but he said there is “interest globally” in this project.
“We do have a burial site here, and we have to ensure that we have the integrity off that burial site, that is done in a way that remembers those that perished,” said Squires in a June 8 interview.
“There is always and has been a huge interest in the Titanic.”
He said the goal is to have a place people can enjoy visiting, but it would also be educational. “I want to ensure that people realize we will do this under the guidance of academia, as well as ensuring that it’s done properly.”
Squires said in 2012, he was involved in attracting visitors to Halifax for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking, and he has always had “a great love and understanding,” for the history of the Titanic.
He said he “knew that Halifax was always a key location where people want to come to pay respect, or at least see the graves.”
Squires told Global News he came across an Ontario developer who wanted to create the Titanic Experience in Niagara Falls just before the pandemic began. After contacting him with “compelling reasons” to choose Halifax instead, Squires said the developer was convinced. But then the pandemic hit and everything was halted.
“Now with COVID behind us, it’s full speed ahead,” Squires said last week, adding that developers were identifying a site for the proposal on or close to the Halifax waterfront area.
Squires said though it’s not the first Titanic experience in the world, in terms of design and what it offers, it will be unique to Halifax.
“I’m very positive on this project,” said Squires, adding he was hoping to make an official announcement in September.
But on Thursday he confirmed the project will no longer be coming to the Halifax Regional Municipality, saying “many things came to my attention that I was not aware of.”