Base opens door to the general public

Westshore Navy Day takes place June 11 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the military facilities off Rosebank Road.

Westshore Navy Day takes place June 11 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the military facilities off Rosebank Road.

Rachel Lallouz, Staff Writer ~

Residents of Greater Victoria can discover the unique world of the Royal Canadian Navy when CFB Esquimalt cracks open its Colwood property for a visitor open house in two weeks.

Westshore Navy Day takes place June 11 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the military facilities off Rosebank Road.

“Navy Day is our opportunity to invite the community within which we reside to come visit us,” says Captain (Navy) Steve Waddell, Base Commander.

“Our goal is to eliminate the mystery of the Base by showcasing our capabilities, which are developed and sustained for the missions we are tasked to do.

A naval presence has been here for 150 years; as the third-largest employer in the region the Base and its workforce, both military and civilian, are inextricably linked to all of the area’s municipalities.”

Organizers have mixed fun and informative in the daylong outing.

Major highlights are the up-close tours of Patrol Craft Training Vessel Orca, HMCS (Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship) Winnipeg, just back from a nine-month deployment in the Mediterranean, and HMCS Saskatoon, which returned last month after conducting anti-drug smuggling operations in the Caribbean.

Visitors will have the opportunity to meet the crew and ask questions about these international missions, as well as take guided walks through the ships. For the more adventurous there are rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) rides around the harbour.

Organizers want parents to be aware there is a height requirement, so to avoid disappointment those 50 inches or more are eligible.

From the vantage of the dock, visitors can watch the adeptness of the base’s Glen class tugboats, which are entrusted to move the warships in and out of the jetties.

These Canadian Forces Auxiliary Vessels will perform a tugboat ballet for onlookers.

Lowering from a Cormorant search and rescue helicopter over the harbour will be search and rescue technicians. I

n their bright orange jumpsuits they will demonstrate the technique of getting into tight spots to perform rescues.

The Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy will provide the musical accompaniment to both spectacles.

Joining the navy and air force will be reserve soldiers from 39 Canadian Brigade Group with a few of their assets – better known as big guns.

Cadets from the region dressed in full uniform will be on hand to explain to both parents and youth the benefits of the army, air and sea cadet program.

“I think what I’m most looking forward to is hearing the positive visitor comments at the end of the day – people walking away saying: ‘I had no idea we had that’, or ‘that was pretty impressive,” says Capt(N) Waddell.

Four food trucks will be onsite: Double D’s Mac N Cheese, Hungry Rooster Food Truck, Coast Lunch Box, and Greek on the Street.

They take cash, credit or debit. Water bottles can be filled at stations located throughout the area.

Attendees are encouraged to “go green” by using public transit or cycling to the area.

For those using the bus system, a shuttle will stop at the Westshore Bus Exchange to ferry people to the open house.

Shuttles will run every 30 minutes.

Bicycle lock ups are available at the Colwood Pacific Activity Centre (CPAC), with a shuttle service from that location to the display area.

Those arriving via car are to park at Royal Roads University or View Royal Casino, where shuttles will be taking attendees to the event.

Another shuttle stop will be located at the fire hall in Belmont Park.

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