Canadian Forts


Nova Scotia || New Brunswick || Québec || Ontario || British Columbia

Last Update: 15/OCTOBER/2012
Compiled by Pete Payette - ©2012 American Forts Network

The following is a short list of Canadian naval shipyards, and either existing or replicated historic military ships, and important shipwrecks. It is not our intent to include all ships, shipyards or museums, mainly just the oldest yards and vessels, and capital ships.
For more ships, please visit the website listed at the bottom of the page.
Why, do you ask, do we include ships on this website? Just think of them as "floating forts", of course!


Halifax Royal Naval Dockyard
MARLANT - CFB HALIFAX || Maritime Command Museum
(1758 - present), Halifax
National Historic Site
Presently the headquarters of the Canadian Atlantic Fleet. The historic naval base served as the principle depot for the British North American squadron until 1819, when it was replaced by Bermuda and became the summer rendezvous point for the West Indies and North American squadrons. In 1905 the British left and the base was formally transferred to the Dominion of Canada five years later. The Dockyard Terrace (Buildings #77, 78, 79) was built in 1815. HMC Dockyard also comprises Formation Supply Facility, Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Scott, shore-based training facilities as well as operations buildings for MARLANT and other organizations such as Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre Halifax (JRCC Halifax). HMC Dockyard also has an adjunct facility directly across the harbour on the Dartmouth shoreline with jetties and various buildings, including Defence Research and Development Canada - Atlantic. HMCS Stadacona was originally built as the British Army's Wellington Barracks, later known as the Nelson Barracks, as part of the Halifax Defence Complex. Stadacona is an adjunct to HMC Dockyard located west of the waterfront in the North End of the Halifax peninsula, and contains the Canadian Forces Naval Engineering School (with facilities at Herring Cove/York Redoubt, south of Halifax), the Canadian Forces Naval Operations School, the base hospital, the Canadian Forces Maritime Warfare Centre, and various messes. Stadacona is also home to the headquarters of Land Force Atlantic Area and the Maritime Command Museum. Housing for CFB Halifax is provided to Canadian Forces personnel and their dependents at Willow Park, a housing area built by the Department of National Defence in the West End of Halifax. Stadacona is home to the Atlantic Block, a barracks for single junior non-commissioned officers and enlisted sailors. Base housing also used to be provided at Shannon Park and Wallis Heights in the North End of Dartmouth, however with defence cutbacks in the 1990's, this area has been sold for civilian use. The Bedford Ammunition Depot, informally referred to as the "Bedford Magazine", is a major Canadian Forces property occupying the entire northern shore of Bedford Basin. The Shearwater Heliport is an airfield located on the eastern shore of Halifax Harbour in the community of Eastern Passage that supports CH-124 Sea King helicopters used on MARLANT's warships based at CFB Halifax. Formerly a separate base known as CFB Shearwater, the airfield was realigned as part of CFB Halifax during the mid 1990's. DND properties that were formerly aligned to CFB Shearwater, such as the Hartlen Point Golf Course and the Shearwater Jetty, are now part of CFB Halifax.

H.M.C.S. Sackville K-181
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax
Type: Flower Class Corvette || Launched & Commissioned: 1941 || Decommissioned: 1983
National Naval Memorial
Saw heavy action in the North Atlantic convoys of WWII. The last remaining ship of the class.


H.M.S. Plumper (submerged shipwreck)
near Dipper Harbour
Protected Historic Site
H.M.S. Plumper was a 12-gun brig, a small class of warship. On her final voyage, she left London commanded by Lt. Bray with seventy-five aboard. The trip ended when she ran into the cliffs near Dipper Harbour during an early-December blizzard in 1812. About thirty survived by scaling the cliffs and huddling together through the storm. The principal cargo was payroll for the British Army fighting against the United States. Some of the 36,000 pounds sterling was salvaged by the British but a good part of its cargo was lost.


Île aux Noix Naval Shipyard
(1812 - 1834), Île-aux-Noix
Located adjacent to Fort Lennox on the Richelieu River, serving the Lake Champlain fleet. The British ships suffered a defeat at Plattsburg, New York in 1814, but the Americans did not exploit the situation.

H.M.C.S. Onondaga S-73
Site Historique Maritime de la Pointe-au-Père, Rimouski
Type: Oberon Class Submarine || Launched: 1965 || Commissioned: 1967 || Decommissioned: 2000
Last ship of the class that was operational in the Royal Canadian Navy. Became a museum ship in 2009.

Le Machault
(Battle of the Restigouche National Historic Site)
(1760), Point-à-la-Croix
National Historic Site
The remains of the French ship are on display at the Battle of the Restigouche NHS visitor centre. This was the last naval battle of the French and Indian War in North America (May 1760). Admission fee.


H.M.S. Radcliff
(Fort Wellington National Historic Site)
(1817), Prescott
A preserved British wooden gunboat built in Kingston in 1817 is on exhibit under roof at the new Fort Wellington Visitor Centre. After its use as a military vessel sometime after 1820, it was converted to a merchant vessel, and was abandoned near Brown's Bay sometime around 1870. The hull of the submerged wreck was excavated and raised in 1966-67, and was originally displayed at Mallorytown Landing until the summer of 2011.

Kingston Royal Naval Dockyard
Royal Military College of Canada || RMC Museum
(1792 - 1852), Kingston
Located on Point Frederick, serving the Lake Ontario Fleet. A naval depot was first established here in 1789. A blockhouse was built in 1791. The present Fort Frederick was built on site in 1846. Became the Canadian Royal Military College in 1876. The RMC Commandant's Residence was the former Royal Navy Hospital, built in 1814. The 1820 naval storehouse, known as the "Stone Frigate", is also still extant on the RMC campus.

Newark Naval Depot
(1775 - 1783, 1797 - 1812), Niagara-on-the-Lake
A British naval and marine depot for the Lake Ontario Fleet, located near Fort George. Navy Hall was used as the Upper Canada colony's governor's residence from 1792 - 1796.

Navy Island
(1761 - 1764), near Niagara Falls
National Historic Site
The first British Naval Shipyard on the Great Lakes. In the 1700's the French also used the island for shipbuilding and as a naval base. They referred to the island as Île la Marine. The island’s ownership was awarded to Canada by an International Boundaries Commission in 1822. It was briefly occupied by William Lyon Mackenzie and a group of Canadian reformers who established the Provincial Government of Upper Canada here in 1837 (the Patriot Rebellion), but the site was abandoned in 1838. Navy Island is currently leased from Parks Canada by the Niagara Parks Commission. The island is accessible only by boat and there are no facilities on the island. See also Navy Island historical marker

H.M.C.S. Haida G-63 / DDE-215
Friends of HMCS Haida
Canadian Register of Historic Places
Type: Tribal Class Destroyer || Launched: 1942 || Commissioned: 1943 || Recommissioned: 1952 || Decommissioned: 1963
National Historic Site
Participated in actions in the North Atlantic, North Sea, and Arctic Oceans during WWII. Credited with sinking the most enemy surface tonnage of any Canadian ship in WWII. The last remaining ship of the class. Modernized in 1952 as a Destroyer Escort. Displayed in Toronto from 1965 until 2002 when taken over by Parks Canada and relocated.

Hamilton and Scourge (submerged shipwrecks)
Canadian Register of Historic Places
near Hamilton
National Historic Site
The Hamilton and Scourge were initially named the Diana and the Lord Nelson respectively, before the War of 1812. The two vessels were merchant schooners; the Lord Nelson was originally a British ship built at Niagara, Upper Canada, and was launched on May 1, 1811. It was due to the Embargo Act of 1807 that she found herself "enlisted" in the U.S. Navy. She was shipping goods from Prescott U.C. to Newark U.C. on June 9, 1812 when she was stopped by United States Navy Lt. Melancthon T. Woolsey aboard the Oneida. On suspicion of smuggling, Woolsey confiscated the Lord Nelson, and she eventually found her way into Captain Isaac Chauncey's fleet at Sackets Harbor, New York. The Diana was American, built in Oswego, New York, and was launched in 1809. She found her way into the U.S. Navy on October 21, 1812, when she was purchased by Captain Chauncey and added to his squadron at Sackets Harbor. Her name was changed to Hamilton on November 5, 1812, in honour of the Secretary of the American Navy Paul Hamilton. When pressed into service for the American Navy, the 76-ton Hamilton was armed with eight 18-pound carronades and one 12-pound long gun on a pivot mount, while the 45-ton Scourge was armed with four 6-pound cannons and four 4-pound cannons. Both vessels foundered in Lake Ontario during a sudden squall just after midnight on August 8, 1813. The wrecks were discovered in approximately 290 feet (88 metres) of water in 1973 with side scan sonar deployed from a Canadian government research vessel. A number of investigative dives by manned and unmanned submersibles have taken place on the wrecks since their discovery, including dives in 1980, 1982 and 1990.

H.M.C.S. Ojibwa S-72
Elgin Military Museum of Naval History, Port Burwell
Type: Oberon Class Submarine || Launched: 1964 || Commissioned: 1965 || Decommissioned: 1998
Sister ship of the Onondaga currently displayed in Québec. Sold to the Elgin Military Museum in 2011, transferred from Halifax, NS in 2012. Scheduled for opening to the public in 2014.

Grand River Naval Depot
(1815 - 1834), Port Maitland
Planned as the next major British Naval Base on Lake Erie, for 1000 men and three frigates, but was limited by the Rush-Bagot Treaty of 1817. It was never fully completed. Officially dis-established in 1834. No remains. Historic marker is at Esplanade Park.

Amherstburg Royal Naval Dockyard
(1796 - 1813), Amherstburg
National Historic Site
The only British Naval Base on Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Two blockhouses were built here in 1797 for its defence. The site is at King's Navy Yard Park on Dalhousie Street. The 1831 Commissariat House still exists, which opened as an interpretive centre for the Amherstburg Provincial Marine re-enactment unit in 2002..

Penetanguishene Naval and Military Establishment
(1817 - 1856), Discovery Harbour, Penetanguishene
A British Naval Shipyard (1817 - 1834) and Army Depot and Barracks (1828 - 1856) with 15 reconstructed buildings: offices, barracks, and warehouses. The 1830's Officers' quarters is the only original structure still extant. There is also the fully rigged replicas of the H.M.S. Bee and the H.M.S. Tecumseth at King's Wharf. Admission fee to park.

Schooner Town
(1815 - 1817), Wasaga Beach
A British Naval Shipyard for the Lake Huron Fleet, replaced by Penetanguishene. See also Historical marker

H.M.S. Nancy (salvaged remains)
(Wasaga Beach Provincial Park)
Nancy Island Historic Site, Wasaga Beach
Built as a private cargo vessel in 1789. Pressed into wartime service, she was sunk by the U.S. in August 1814. The hull was recovered from the bay in 1928 and is now in the Nancy Museum.


Esquimalt Royal Naval Dockyard
MARPAC - CFB Esquimalt || Naval and Military Museum
(1855 - present), Victoria
National Historic Site
The major British fleet dockyard in the Pacific. It was turned over to Canada in 1906. The Hudson's Bay Company docks were first opened for servicing the Royal Navy in 1843 and were expanded in the wake of the disastrous Siege of Petropavlovsk during the Crimean War (1855). HMCS Naden was originally the site of four wooden huts built by the Hudson’s Bay Company to house the Royal Engineers sent to Canada from 1858 to 1862 to survey the international boundary between the colony of B.C. and the United States. After completion of the survey, the huts were handed over to the Royal Navy, along with 10 acres of land (for use as a hospital). The huts were replaced by brick buildings in 1887 but continued in their role as a hospital until 1906, when all imperial forces had returned to England. In 1915 the Canadian government took over these buildings and turned them into the Disabled Civil Re-establishment Hospital. However, in 1919 the hospital was closed and these buildings became available once more just in time to be selected as the site for the navy’s shore establishment in Esquimalt. By 1922 HMCS Naden was commissioned as a land holding. Subsequent expansions from 1925 to 1940 increased land holdings to the current level. Naden today is primarily a barracks and instructional site with the CF Fleet School Esquimalt (CFFSE) as the major unit. Work Point Barracks, on the west side of the entrance to Victoria Harbour, was designated a Canadian military base in 1887. Colwood, on the western side of Esquimalt Harbour, was originally built as an ammunition depot. The period from 1937 to 1943 saw the construction and expansion of magazine and storage units. The Colwood Ammunition Depot later became the site of the nuclear, biological and chemical defence school, a fire fighting and damage control school, general storage space, and a base for the Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific). Belmont Park, located southwest of the Colwood site, adjoins the Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Park. Today Belmont Park contains military family housing units for CF personnel serving at CFB Esquimalt. Albert Head and Mary Hill are both training areas located southwest of Victoria and Esquimalt. Rocky Point replaced Colwood as the site for the West Coast Ammunition Depot. It is located southwest of Victoria on an isolated triangular peninsula between Pedder Bay and Beecher Bay. In 1966 as part of the integration of the CF, all of the above sites were incorporated to form CFB Esquimalt.

R.C.M.P.V. St. Roch
Vancouver Maritime Museum, Vancouver
Type: Auxiliary Police Schooner || Launched & Commissioned: 1928 || Decommissioned: 1954
National Historic Site
This vessel was used by the RCMP Arctic Patrol. It was the first ship to travel east through the Northwest Passage (1942), arriving at Halifax. In 1944 it returned to Vancouver, making this the first vessel to make a round trip via the Northwest Passage. In 1948 the ship sailed back to Halifax via the Panama Canal. This feat made the St. Roch the first vessel to circumnavigate North America. It is now in permanent dry dock.

Most of this material was collected from Historic Naval Ships Visitors' Guide

See also American Ships and American Shipyards page

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