Tears and cheers as HMCS Toronto departs for Operation Reassurance

HMCS Toronto deploys

Ryan Melanson, Trident Newspaper ~

Despite it being a weekend morning, HMC Dockyard in Halifax was crowded on Jan. 19 with family members, friends and colleagues on hand to see the crew of HMCS Toronto off on their six-month deployment.

The ship is headed to the Mediterranean Sea as part of Operation Reassurance.

The mission, which will see Toronto join NATO allies as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, has a goal of reinforcing NATO’s collective strength in Central and Eastern Europe and assuring allies in the region that NATO is dedicated to maintaining security and stability in the face of Russian aggression and other threats.

RAdm Craig Baines, Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic, said he’s been impressed by the crew as they’ve worked overtime to ensure their weapons, communications, radar and engineering systems are all operating at full tilt ahead of their departure.

“This is Canada’s continuous support to our NATO allies in the European theatre, and I know Toronto is ready to take up that mantle,” he said. “The ship has had a very ambitious program over the last six months leading to this, and now they’re going to have a very interesting mission downrange. I know they’ll make the most of it, and I know they’ll make their country proud.”

Leaving with Toronto was the second-ever Royal Canadian Air Force air crew to deploy on a ship with the new CH-148 Cyclone, Canada’s replacement for the long-serving Sea King helicopters.

In a grand gesture of support for their colleagues, the ship was given a flypast from six additional Cyclones as it sailed out of the harbour, providing a show for both the crew and the many friends and family at the jetty.

In addition to the embarked Cyclone crew, Toronto also sailed with an Enhanced Naval Boarding Party from the Naval Tactical Operations Group, who will provide the ship with enhanced protection and a stronger ability to board any suspicious or adversarial vessels. The team will also exercise extensively with allies to help build capability and share best practices.

Toronto is expected to return to Halifax early in the summer.

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