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The Canadian Navy - 'Ready Aye Ready!'

HMCS Niobe in Halifax. Photo: Department of National Defence

Canada is a vast country with the longest coastline of any nation in the world. We have a rich tradition of fishing and maritime trade dating back to our earliest days, however it took more than 40 years after Confederation to form our own navy. Before that, as a member of the British Empire, Canada’s defence at sea was left almost entirely to the powerful Royal Navy. After much debate on how the member countries of the British Empire could best help defend themselves and each other, the formation of the new Canadian navy was finally authorized. On May 4, 1910, it officially came into being.

The Canadian Navy received its first warships that same year when HMCS Rainbow and Niobe were acquired from Britain. King George V granted the use of the word “Royal” in the navy’s name the following year. It was a modest beginning to what would prove to be a force that had an important role to play in the future.

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