Historic concrete slabs find new life

The restored slabs are now in front of Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton.

The restored slabs are now in front of Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

A piece of HMC Dockyard’s rich ship repair past has been preserved on a feature wall within Dockyard’s Ship Repair Zone.

Large historic concrete slabs engraved with the word “ORDNANCE”, once part of the façade of long-demolished building D192, have been incorporated into the landscape design delivered by the Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton shop consolidation project. They are now displayed as a centre piece of a south-facing parkette located on Hospital Road.

D192, built in 1940, was the administrative headquarters for FMF’s predecessor, the Ship Repair Unit (Pacific). The large concrete slabs were part of that building’s front entrance motif.

Project Director for the ongoing consolidation project Clive Orford, of NDHQ’s Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure & Environment) organization, says incorporating the slabs as part of the revamped ship repair complex celebrates CFB Esquimalt’s rich ship building and repair past.

“There always is a lot of history and commemoration about ships and sailors who wore the uniform, but very little in the way of a nod to the thousands of workers who have worn overalls and carried tool boxes, and performed the fundamental task of making sure our ships were seaworthy and ready for deployment,” said Orford.

At the start of demolition for D192 in 2001, he asked that the slabs be retained and ultimately repatriated to the site.

“The intention was to create a little enclave or intersection to provide a spot within Dockyard adjacent to the huge FMF complex, to commemorate this historical legacy,” said Orford.

The Shop Consolidation Project began in 1988 and is nearing completion with the fifth and final phase expected to be completed later this year.

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  1. Clive Orford says:

    Sorry Laura (but indeed you are partially correct): The demolition of D192 occurred in about 2001-02. Building D250 was indeed completed in 1991 9under the auspices of a predecessor major project) and some folks such as yourself were moved out of D192 at that time, into the brand new D250 building. But D192 stood for another many years while I ramped up the FMF(CB) Shop Consolidation project and got it into implementation … the scope of which included the demolition of D192 and many other old buildings at Dockyard. Kind Regards, Clive Orford

  2. Laura Larosse says:

    I believe there’s an error in this. I was working in Bldg 192 during this time. The demolition began in 1991. We were moved to Bldg 250, the new Fleet Maintenance Facility shortly before the demolition of 192 started.

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