Warship celebrates Canada 150 in an unusual way

Warship celebrates Canada 150 in an unusual way

Warship celebrates Canada 150 in an unusual way

Lt(N) Daemen Wolch, HMCS Ottawa ~

How does a Canadian warship commemorate Canada 150 while deployed half way around the world?

In the case of HMCS Ottawa, the answer would be with a specially created “Canada 150” screen, being used by the ship during Poseidon Cutlass 17, while conducting exercises with other navies in the region – part of Canada’s strategic involvement in the South China Sea.

Screens are tools used by navies to assist with the assignment of positioning when working with other ships at sea. Different segments of the surrounding area are each assigned a name for the sake of brevity. Often a theme is chosen for the names that reflects the mission at hand. In this case, Ottawa chose to spread some Canadiana to foreign warships.

The Canada 150 screen celebrates the sesquicentennial with an ode to the mothers and fathers of Confederation, as well as a nod to the Canadian provinces. The inner sectors are named after Fathers of Confederation: Sir John A. MacDonald, Sir George Archibald, Sir George-Étienne Cartier, Sir Charles Tupper, Alexander MacKenzie, and William McDougall.

The middle sectors each bear the name of a Canadian province.

Finally, the outer sectors are named after Mothers of Confederation: Queen Victoria, Anne Brown, Mercy Coles, and Luce Cuvillier.

The screen was first used by HMCS Ottawa, HMCS Winnipeg and HMAS Ballarat, an Australian warship. The three ships conducted exercises over the course of three days using the Canadian designed screen. The screen was also successfully used with the French ship Prairial during a full day of activities. The Canada 150 screen will be used with other regional partners as HMCS Ottawa continues its mission of global engagement on Poseidon Cutlass 17.

The Canada 150 screen will see its next use during Pacific Guardian 17, an exercise to be conducted with ships from the New Zealand, Japanese, and American navies later this month. This exercise will prelude Ottawa’s and Winnipeg’s arrival to South Korea – Incheon, and Busan, respectively – where the ships will have the honour of kicking off the country’s 150th Canada Day celebrations.

Although the women and men aboard these ships will be far from home, planning has already begun for how to best celebrate on July 1. Being 16 hours ahead of their families’ back home means these sailors will be some of the first people to ring in Canada 150.

Lt(N) Curtis Dollis, Navigating Officer onboard HMCS Ottawa, has become very familiar with the screen over the past four months.

“Ships routinely use screens in operations, but using bits of Canadian history while doing so allows us to promote Government of Canada strategic communications goals while also adding a bit of Canadian flavour to our exercises with our partners in the region,” he says.

The Canada 150 screen highlights Canada’s history and geography while showing commitment to peace and prosperity in the region. It also allows the sailors onboard Ottawa to keep Canada in their minds while deployed in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

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