HMCS HAIDA, Canada’s Most Famous Fighting Vessel Turns 80

By Ignition Communications, 23 August 2023

August 26th 2023 marks the 80th anniversary of HMCS Haida’s commissioning! All season long we are honouring the ship’s history as both Canada’s most famous fighting vessel and a uniquely important national historic site commemorating Canada’s naval history. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the ship’s residency along the Hamilton waterfront. 

HMCS Haida served as a fleet destroyer and destroyer escort in the Royal Canadian Navy between 1943 and 1963 and became known as Canada's 'fightingest ship.' In 1963, upon receiving news of the ship's decommissioning, a group of concerned Toronto civilians and retired Naval officers successfully campaigned to preserve the ship with the intent to foster a greater appreciation of Canada's navy to the general public. Since 2003, Parks Canada has been the proud custodian of HMCS Haida at the Hamilton Waterfront. The Friends of HMCS Haida and the Royal Canadian Navy make vital contributions to the promotion and interpretation of the ship.

Here are some interesting HMCS HAIDA facts: 

●      HMCS HAIDA is one of three remaining of over 400 Canadian Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) warships from the Second World War and the only survivor of eight Canadian warships that served during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. 
●      The warship was commissioned into the RCN on August 30th, 1943.
●      In WW2 under Commander Harry DeWolf, participated in the rescue of 44 seamen from the HMCS ATHABASKAN, which a German torpedo in the English Channel had struck. 
●      Participated in D-Day successfully blocking German shipping in the Bay of Biscay. 
●      Sank more surface tonnage than any other RCN ship during the Second World War.
●      Earned battle honours for the Arctic, English Channel, Normandy and the Bay of Biscay.
●      She served two tours of duty in Korea as part of the “Trainbusters Club” where the ship earned its fifth battle honour.
●      Over 20 years of service HMCS HAIDA steamed 688,534.25 nautical miles, the equivalent of 27 times around the world.
●      Decommissioned in 1963.
●      In 1964 it was announced that the ship would be scrapped as part of cutbacks to the RCN. However as highlighted above, the warship was saved by a last-minute bid of $20,000 by HAIDA Inc. which won possession on the grounds of restoration.
●      In 2018 the HMCS HAIDA was designated “Ceremonial Flagship” for the Royal Canadian Navy.
●      It remains the only ship in the RCN to have circumnavigated the world twice.
●      The ship has been visited by King Charles and Queen Camilla, and Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh. 


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