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Canadian history sails into Kingston as HMCS Oriole docks at Crawford Wharf

WATCH: HMCS Oriole sails into Kingston for visit

A Royal Canadian Navy ship sailed into Kingston Thursday morning.

This one, however, isn’t built for war. It’s a sail training vessel and the public is invited to climb aboard over the next few days at Crawford Wharf.

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Lt.-Cdr Drew Foran is the commanding officer of the ship.

“HMCS Oriole is not only the oldest ship in the Canadian Navy, built in 1921, but she’s the longest-serving commissioned ship in the Royal Canadian Navy,” Foran said.

WATCH: Royal Canadian Navy ship stops by Old Port

Royal Canadian Navy ship stops by Old Port
Royal Canadian Navy ship stops by Old Port

Commissioned in 1952, HMCS Oriole supports a crew of 21 — about half of them Canadian Forces members, the other half  junior sea cadets. Chris Dunleavy, from Kingston, is one of those Canadian Forces members. He says it’s awesome to be back home seeing family and friends.

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The former Regiopolis Notre Dame high school student is the ship’s cook.

“It was just a hidden passion that I didn’t know I had,” Dunleavy said. “It came up as one of those options for the military and it was my quickest route to the navy. I didn’t know that I was any good and I just started liking it — you’re good and you’re supporting the guys out there and it’s awesome.”

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Based out of Halifax, the vessel does some sail training, but is primarily used for outreach. But despite her age, Foran says the vessel is still very impressive.

“When she was built in 1921, she was considered the most modern freshwater yacht in the world,” Foran said. “And that still rings true today as far as her sailing characteristics.

“[She is] very well-balanced, that’s what sailors would say. She’s well trimmed. I can let go of the wheel and she’ll go for a straight in for eight minutes.”

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Royal Canadian Navy culture a barrier to recruitment efforts: retired commander
Royal Canadian Navy culture a barrier to recruitment efforts: retired commander

The public is encouraged to tour the ship, which is docked in Kingston until early next week.

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