The Canadian Navy came into existence on May 4, 1910, when the Naval Service Act became law. Some simple maths will show that this year, 2010, is exactly 100 years after the Navy's 1910 founding.
In honour of this historic occasion, Halifax (as one of the few cities in Canada with a Naval base) is hosting the first International Fleet Review Week in 25 years. Over 28 ships, and 5 000 sailors from Canada, America, Britain, France, Brazil, Denmark, and many more countries will be in Halifax this week for the festivities. Also, as a special bonus, Her Majesty The Queen will be coming to Canada this year for a Royal Visit, and will be giving a rare Royal Review of some of the ships.
In addition to the much needed boost to Canada's Navy, this International Fleet Review Week also offers an extremely rare occasion for members of the public to be able to board some of the ships, and take tours at their leisure. When I asked one of the sailors of the HMCS Athabaskan destroyer for his thoughts on the security risk caused by this event, he told me, "we're not too worried; we have lots of fire power out there" (pointing behind him to the many small motor boats whirring around the harbour carrying machine gun armed guards).
The biggest draw of the week is definitely the absolutely massive American aircraft carrier, the USS Wasp. Unfortunately, tours of this ship closed earlier than the others when I was at the Harbour, and I was not able to board. I heard from others though, that the steps necessary to pass the security procedures before boarding the ship were worse than those at American airports, while my experience with the security check to get on the HMCS Athabaskan included nothing more than putting a name tag on my backpack and leaving it under a guarded tent.
(The buskers were out in full force along the Board Walk for the wonderful weather on Sunday.)
(Even the kids were trying to get in on the money.)
(Here's a sister act...)
(Which appears to be a family business. A quick glance in the change bucket showed the four sisters were making more than enough money to buy an entire ice cream truck worth of frozen milk treats.)
(The dancing girls were also out, warming up for Canada Day just around the corner.)
(The HMCS Athabaskan, an air-defence destroyer, docked at Halifax Harbour.)
(Standing on the deck at the front of the HMCS Athabaskan.)
(Canada's Naval Memorial, "The Last Corvette", HMCS Sackville. This was the fastest ship in the Canadian Navy during World War II, and its main job was to escort cargo ships and larger battle ships across the Atlantic, while it sought out and attempted to destroy the infamous German U-boats. The interesting paint scheme is actually the original design of the HMCS Sackville. A sailor on board informed me that the design made the ship look like waves on the ocean, while the contrasting colours distorted the depth perception of the enemy's tracking equipment.)
(On HMCS Sackville, shooting Nazis.)