Explore History

Birth of the Navy (1910-1914)
Creating the Navy

Created in 1910, the Naval Service of Canada was renamed the Royal Canadian Navy in 1911. It was the product of an intense Canadian political debate driven by Great Britain's efforts to bolster its naval defences against the rapidly growing German navy.

American Cruiser USS Olympia
American Cruiser USS Olympia

This photograph shows the American cruiser USS Olympia, Admiral George Dewey's flagship at the battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines.

Under Dewey's command, the Olympia and a squadron of American ships defeated a squadron of Spanish ships on 1 May 1898. This American victory in the first major engagement of the Spanish-American War catapulted Dewey to national prominence in the United States, and signalled America's rapid development as a world power in the late nineteenth century. The growth of the United States Navy and other nations' fleets challenged Britain's status as the world's foremost naval power. The two images on this card create the illusion of a three-dimensional image when seen through a special viewer called a stereoscope.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 19840506-019

Service Dress Jacket, Admiral-of-the-Fleet Sir John Arbuthnot "Jackie" Fisher, around 1910
British Ships in Halifax, 1901
American Cruiser USS Olympia
HMS New Zealand (right) and HMAS Australia (left)
CGS Canada Model
Bell, CGS Canada
1 1/4 - Pounder Naval Gun
Royal Navy Warships in Esquimalt Harbour
HMCS Niobe, Stern View
HMCS Rainbow arrives at Esquimalt, British Columbia
Rear-Admiral Sir Charles E. Kingsmill
Bicorn Hat, Rear-Admiral Sir Charles E. Kingsmill
Arrival Ceremony, HMCS Rainbow, Esquimalt, British Columbia
Rifle, MK I* Lee-Enfield
Naval Service of Canada Recruiting Poster
First Naval Recruits, HMCS Niobe
Royal Naval College of Canada, Class Photo, 1911
Royal Naval College of Canada, Machine Shop
Cartoon, HMCS Niobe Coronation Contingent, 1911
Sailors Marching, Esquimalt