Growing up in Winnipeg, I always wondered why that city had a Navy post, HMCS Chippawa. just north of the Donald Street Bridge. It is not on water, a block from the Assiniboine River and about a thousand kilometres from saltwater, Hudson Bay. But tons of prairie kids learned their sea skills there and my father was one of them. Thanks to the Navy, he and, through him, I learned to love what Melville called the watery part of the world.
So it was a great thrill for me to ask my dear friends in CBC Archives to assist in finding old film and video of the Navy in action for a story about the 100th anniversary of its founding in May of 1910. The story of this force is long and justly celebrated and I could only skirt a few of the highlights in this piece. By the way, why is there a base in Winnipeg? In addition to offering Sea Cadet training to kids like my Dad, it also recruited prairie men and (eventually) women to the Navy, almost eight thousand sailors during the Second World War. Navy 100