Ahoy, Mates!: Canada’s Navy Centennial

HMCS Ville de Quebec

As many Canadians know (but not so many Americans), this year marks the centennial of the establishment of Canada’s Navy, a naval force that is among the world’s largest.  Getting to the grand old age of 100 is a major achievement regardless of what is being counted.  I first learned about the centennial when I spotted an ad by the Royal Canadian Mint for commemorative coins honoring the Navy.  I wrote about the special coinage of Canada in an earlier post  on this blog (see “Canada’s Colorful Coinage” on 4/18/10) and made a note to later look into the Navy centennial, which I’ve since done.

For a country with as strong a seafaring tradition as Canada, it’s interesting how there was such a struggle in the early days to establish the Navy.  This was because, in large measure, in the early twentieth century Canada was much more in the orbit of Britain and the then dominance of the British Navy prompted many to question the necessity of maintaining a separate Canadian naval operation.  Shortly after its formation in 1910, the Royal Canadian Navy assisted Britain in World War I but thereafter had difficulty finding its place within the armed services of Canada.  The all-encompassing nature of World War II transformed the shaky standing of the Navy.  Since then, the Navy, now part of the unified Canadian Forces, has evolved into one of the world’s best equipped fleets, which is only fitting given that Canada’s coastline is the longest of any country.

HMCS Corner Brook

Useful resources abound to learn more about Canada’s Navy.  Among those that I’d recommend are the home page of the Canadian Navy, the interactive features on the website of Canadian Geographic magazine, and the very good overview available at Wikipedia.  Links are below.

Link to Home Page of Canadian Navy:  http://www.navy.forces.gc.ca/cms/0/0_eng.asp

Link to Canadian Geographic Features on Canadian Navy:  http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/navy/

Link to Wikipedia Overview on Canadian Navy:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Canadian_Navy

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