Brodeur Family Dynasty Display launches online

Nigel Brodeur

Nigel Brodeur presents during the unveiling of the Naval Monument.

CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum — One Canadian family has the special distinction of having three successive generations hold positions of key significance to Canada’s Navy. That family is the Brodeurs, whose members – Louis Philippe Brodeur; his son, Victor Gabriel Brodeur; and Victor Gabriel Brodeur’s son, Nigel Brodeur – constitute a true Canadian naval dynasty.

To celebrate the achievements and contributions of the Brodeurs to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and Canada as a nation, the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum has launched an online exhibit on its website.

The online display features a comprehensive gallery of personal photos from the Brodeurs’ history – some never before seen outside family circles – as well as photos that document their professional and career firsts and achievements. The text was written for the museum by Dr. Richard Gimblett, the former Command Historian for the Royal Canadian Navy. In it, he captures the pivotal roles played by all three members of the Brodeur family in the development of a navy made in and for Canada. Together, the three generations of the Brodeurs have been highly important and influential, with their consecutive achievements spanning most of the first century of the Royal Canadian Navy. Each generation has a part in the RCN’s growth and direction:

Louis Philippe Brodeur, who was Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier’s first Minister of the Naval Service, brought the RCN into being and laid the groundwork for Canada’s organization of its naval defence;

His son, Victor Gabriel Brodeur, was in the very first cadre of naval cadets to join the service in 1909. He served at sea and ashore through the two World Wars and rose to become the first Franco-Canadien to make flag rank;

Victor-Gabriel Brodeur’s son Nigel served in the RCN throughout nearly the full duration of the Cold War. He was influential in setting up the Canadian Patrol Frigate project that remains the backbone of the present-day fleet.

“The Brodeur family is unique in the Canadian naval experience, in having three successive generations figuring at its very senior level,” said Dr. Gimblett. “We are especially fortunate that Vice-Admiral Nigel Brodeur had the foresight to save and make available the records essential to putting this exhibit together.”

He added he is grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the museum on a project that brings the Brodeur family into perspective and to pay tribute to Nigel Brodeur, who has been an important mentor to him in his naval career and his subsequent career as a historian.

The exhibit, available in French and English, is a first for CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum. It was initiated by Clare Sharpe, the Museum’s Exhibit Designer and webmaster, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the inability of potential visitors to access the museum in person. Sharpe explains the museum’s website has long played an outreach role in bringing a wider online awareness of the history and heritage of the naval presence on Canada’s West Coast and of the military on Southern Vancouver Island.

“But, as was true for so many museums throughout the world, the pandemic brought into focus our need to make museum collections and records accessible in a way that is dynamic and informative, and based in a strong historical perspective,” she said.

The lively and engaging online exhibit was designed by Denis Eve and Olivia Hernandez, Ardent West Creative principals, who also designed and helped maintain the museum website.

The exhibit is titled “The Brodeur Family – An RCN Dynasty” and is available at the following links:


To learn more about the history of the RCN, visit the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum, open Mon-Sun from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., or discover the museum website at

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