Visiting Ships

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Dating back to the visit of HMS HERON, a Britomart Class gunboat, which visited Hamilton  August 17-19 1866, a steady stream of naval vessels have visited Hamilton.   On HERON’s arrival, the Mayor was there to greet her, there was a civic reception at the Royal Hotel followed by a trip to the Mountainview Hotel at the top of the escarpment, and the next day the City Council went for a sail.  Subsequent visits have not always received the same attention in the city.

HMS HERON, Toronto Harbour 1867

The building in the background above is identified as the Grand Trunk Railway elevator. Heron’s two 112 pounder Armstrong guns are clearly visible.

I have been able to identify at least thirty-six vessels from the Royal Canadian Navy plus another thirteen from the United States Navy, Royal Navy, Netherlands Navy and Indian Navy that have visited Hamilton over the years.  I’m sure that there are others that I have missed.  If you know details of any ship visits, please let me know.

HMCS ANTICOSTI MSA-110

BUCKINGHAM FFE-314

CAP DE LA MADELAINE FFE-317

CORMORANT PCS-781 Bird Class Patrol Vessel

HMCS CORMORANT ASL-20

FRASER DDH-233

FREDERICTON FFH-337

GATINEAU DDE-236

GLACE BAY MM-701

GOOSE BAY MM-707

HAIDA DDE-215

INCH ARRAN 308

KINGSTON MM-700

  • KOOTENAY DDE-258
  • LANARK FFE-321
  • LAUZON FFE-322
  • MARGAREE DDH-230

MONCTON MM-708

HMCS MONCTON visited Hamilton from 22 to 25 July 2018 as part of GLD 2018.    Particularly enjoyed was the opportunity for a daysail from Hamilton to Toronto on Wednesday, 25 July, for Parks Canada staff from HMCS HAIDA, volunteers from Friends of HAIDA, and others.   Thanks to LCdr Rusty Hodgson & the ship’s company for a great visit.

  • MONTREAL FFH-336
  • MORESBY MSA-112
  • NIPIGON DDH-266
  • NOOTKA DDE-213
  • OKANAGAN S-74

ORIOLE YAC-3

ORIOLE was built as ORIOLE IV for George Gooderham, the Commodore of the RCYC (Royal Canadian Yacht Club) in Toronto.  A steel hulled Bermuda ketch, 102 feet long overall and with a 94’ tall mainmast, she was launched 4 June 1921 by George Lawley and Sons in Neponset (Boston), Massachusetts, the same yard that built the PURITAN & MAYFLOWER, respectively winners of the 1885 & 1886 America’s Cups and served as the flagship of the RCYC from 1924 to 1928.

She was sold to the Navy League of Canada in 1941 and used for training sea cadets.  Chartered during the war by the RCN she was again chartered in 1949 and then on 19 June 1952, commissioned as HMCS ORIOLE.  In 1954 she went to the West Coast as a training vessel at NOTC (Naval Officers Training Centre) VENTURE and became a regular fixture in the Victoria to Maui Ocean Race and the Swiftsure International Yacht Race. 

After sixty-three years on the west coast, she came east in 2017 to take part in the celebrations for Canada 150 and for a refit in the shipyard in Luneburg, Nova Scotia.  At 97 years of age with 66 years of service, ORIOLE is the oldest commissioned vessel in the RCN.  She visited Hamilton 29 June to 3 July 2018.

  • OTTAWA DDH-229
  • PORTAGE FSE-169

PORTE DAUPHINE YMG-186

PORTE DAUPHINE, the last of the five Gate Vessels to commission, in December of 1952, served with the RCN only till 1958 before being transferred to the Department of Transport for the next sixteen years for service on the Great lakes with the Canadian Coast Guard employed in surveying and research duties.

On November 17th, 1974, she was recommissioned into the RCN in a ceremony held at HMCS STAR.  The Commissioning booklet shows that Commodore R.T. Bennett was the Inspecting Officer and Commander F.R. “Hamish” Berchem, a former Commanding Officer of HMCS YORK and noted Marine artist, was the Commanding Officer.

The year before she rejoined the RCN, PORTE DAUPHINE, under the command of LCdr Archie Hodge, was instrumental in the discovery of the wrecks of the two sunken War of 1812 warships, the HAMILTON and the SCOURGE

Intended to operate on the Great lakes out of Hamilton, PORTE DAUPHINE was quickly transferred to the west coast where she joined her sisters PORTE QUEBEC and PORTE DE LA REINE till the three were paid off in 1995 and 1996 to be replaced by the KINGSTON Class MCDVs.

PORTE ST JEAN YMG-180

  • PORTE ST LOUIS YMG-183
  • RESTIGOUCHE DDE-257
  • SAGUENAY DDH-206
  • SIOUX DDE-225
  • ST CROIX DDE-256
  • TERRA NOVA DDE-259
  • TORONTO FFH-333
  • VICTORIAVILLE FFE-320
  • VILLE DE QUEBEC FFH-332
  • WALLACEBURG FSE-172

HMS BRAVE F-94

HMS HERON

HM Royal Yacht BRITANNIA

With the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, large ships were able to access Lake Ontario.  BRITANNIA visited 13 to 16 July 1959 and berthed alongside STAR.  The royal portraits over the wardroom mantel and BRITANNIA’s badge over the bar were donated during the visit.

BRITANNIA alongside STAR
As a boy, I was lucky enough to be brought to visit the Royal Yacht and was given these badges by a crew member.
  • ex German SCIII class U-boat SC-97

Indian Naval Ship TARANGINI

HNLMS ROTTERDAM D-818

USS BOULDER  LST-1190

USS DANIEL A. JOY DE-585

USS EGRET AMS-46

USS HURRICANE PC-3

USS LCU 1680

USS PROWESS MSF-280

USS SAMUEL ELLIOT MORRISON FFG-13

USS SEAGULL AMS-55

USS ZELLARS DD-777