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Second World War
The Navy Ashore  - Building the Royal Canadian Navy

The Royal Canadian Navy expanded dramatically during the Second World War, acquiring ships and recruiting personnel to meet the constantly increasing demands placed upon it. Ships had to be built, repaired, and maintained, and people recruited, trained, and supported.


HMCS York, in Toronto, was an important Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) recruiting depot during the Second World War.

Initially established as Toronto's Naval Reserve Division in 1923, the outbreak of war prompted a move to the Automotive Building at the Canadian National Exhibition, seen here. Like other reserve divisions, York functioned as an accommodation and recruiting centre, and was the first experience of naval life for more than 14,000 members of the RCN.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 20000031-052

Halifax Dockyard
Hull of a Minesweeper under Construction
A New Gun for the Destroyer
Outfitting a Minesweeper at Night
HMCS Micmac
Diver, First Class
Diving Knife
Calisthenics at HMCS Cornwallis
"Do You Fit in Here?"
Seamen on Jetty Being Instructed on Bends and Hitches
Semaphore Training Tool
Signal Flag Hoist
Nurse's Uniform, Sub-Lieutenant Georgia Hayes
Service Dress Uniform, Captain Charles Best
Foot-Powered Dental Drill
Canadian Sailor in Hospital
Barrington Street Patrol, Halifax
Colt Revolver
Navy Police and Sentry in Dockyard, Halifax
Cap Ribbon Order
Service Club, Sydney, Nova Scotia
Three Sailors at Rest Base, Northern Ireland
Boxing Instruction