Photo by Eric Wynne
I grew up in the military town of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the home port of Canada's East Coast navy, known as Maritime Forces Atlantic. So it's with a special sense of excitement and pride that I celebrate the guardians of a grateful nation.
Photo by Brenda Fancey
1 - On Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 the Canadian Navy celebrated its centennial on both coasts. My co-worker Debbie's daughter Brenda took this shot when she attended the west coast ceremonies in Victoria, British Columbia as her husband marched with his fellow officers.
2 - CLICK HERE to watch a clip on the naval celebration
3 - Canadian Forces Maritime Command was formed in 1968 after Canada detached itself from its former identity as an offshoot of England's Royal Navy.
Prior to the First World War, if Canadians wished to serve at sea, they did so as Royal Navy crewmen, until the Royal Canadian Navy was formed in 1910.
4 - The Canadian Blue Ensign was flown by all Royal Canadian Navy ships until 1968. The blue ensign had been used by ships owned by the Canadian government since 1868.
5 - The Canadian White Ensign is the identifying flag flown from Canadian naval vessels today.
6 - The United States Navy operates with 25 times more personnel than the Canadian Navy.
However, Canada currently joins with the US in Operation Enduring Freedom, and provided support as Operation Apollo for US military operations in Afghanistan.
Photo by Cpl Charles Barber
7 - One of the sailors who took part in Operation Apollo is my next door neighbor, Mack.
He's the dreamiest nextdoor neighbor, ever. The kind that snowblows our shared driveway before I can even get up in the morning.
8 - Shortly after the new year, the earthquake in Haiti sent Mack's ship off to the Caribbean to bring humanitarian relief. My mom and I were relieved when he didn't have to go on that voyage, codenamed Operation Hestia. No doubt many of the sailors had grim duties to perform.
9 - The official march of the Canadian navy is Heart of Oak, which we share with our historic predecessor, England's Royal Navy. It's performed in this clip in London, before Prince Charles. I just love this march. I performed in the Nova Scotia Tattoo in two different years, and whenever I hear it, I'm swept back to that time and to those shows.
10 - The naval base in Halifax is called Stadacona, and here is a clip of the Stadacona Band during a Canada Day parade.
11 - Stadacona is one of the oldest defenses in Canada, having begun as a Royal Naval Dockyard for England in 1759.
This was maintained for the use of the Royal Navy until 1905, and was purchased by Canada for its own use two years later.
12 - The Canadian navy began as a six-vessel force during the First World War, while ending the Second World War as the third largest navy in the world after the US and the UK.
13 - One hundred years as an independent naval force has not severed Canada's traditional ties to its monarch. Every warship has the letters HMCS preceeding its name, which stand for Her Majesty's Canadian Ship.
Jennie Marsland says Great post, Julia, and great pics!
Janet says It's been wonderful being here for the celebration. I have to add - a friend of ours is retired Navy personnel and shared with us a pic of the new statue unveiled yesterday in Victoria for the celebration of 100 years. His 'class' were involved with the project.
Brenda ND says Interesting. I'm learning about Canada through your blog. Thanks.