The history of Canada's navy is its ships. It is as impossible to separate one from the other as it is to separate sailors who love the seagoing life from their beloved ships. Yet Canadians don't think of themselves as a maritime nation, or as a people who "go down to the sea in ships."
In an introduction to one of the most useful books available on Canada's naval vessels, "The Ships of Canada's Naval Forces 1910-2002", by Ken Macpherson and Ron Barrie, Vice-Admiral (retired) Gary L. Garnett writes —
Despite a general lack of recognition by the Canadian public, Canada's Navy —and its individual ships, both past and present — are recognized in certain circles as being among the most sophisticated, efficient, or just plain plucky (in the case of the corvettes that did such stalwart escort duty during the Battle of the Atlantic) in the world.
There are many informative publications that document the distinguished history of Canada's naval forces, and many web sites that provide detailed information about these ships, as well photographs and other documentation. Links to a small selection of these sites are included below, but there are many more worthwhile sources out there.
Here at CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum, we strive to represent the stories of ships that have a strong connection to Canada's navy on the West Coast. Included here are articles on four ships with strong West Coast ties, HMCS BEACON HILL HMCS ESQUIMALT, HMCS GALIANO, and the vessel that started it all for the Royal Canadian Navy in 1910, HMCS RAINBOW. More profiles of ships integral to West Coast defence, to the history of CFB Esquimalt, and to the history of Canada, will be added to this section in the months ahead.
Naval Museum of Manitoba Ships' Image database
The Naval Museum of Manitoba has an extensive photo collection of Canadian warships from the conception of the Royal Canadian Navy, to the present, along with the basic data for each unit. This database has recently been updated. It now contains vessels from 1910 to the present, over 480 ships photos. Work is in progress to complete this database to include all auxiliary vessels from all eras.
Naval Museum of Alberta
This site offers photos and profiles of RCN corvettes, frigates and destroyers, plus individual ship histories of notable vessels. This museum also holds the Ken Macpherson collection of photographs. Within this collection there are approximately 50,000 images, as well as ship plans and correspondence. Comprised of official Department of Defence photographs, the collection also provides a rare glimpse of social history aboard Canadian ships though a series of private or unofficial photographs. This collection is one of the largest collections of naval photographs in Canada.
Ready Aye Ready - Ships of the Canadian Navy
Unofficial web site with photos and information on a wide variety of vessels. This site includes advertising and pop-up links pages that may be annoying to some users.