The aim of the Canadian Naval Centennial is to build and strengthen in Canadians an appreciation for their navy and to promote the role of the navy within the Canadian Forces in a maritime nation like Canada. The theme is to “Bring the Navy to Canadians” and events will be focused to honour the past, to showcase the current navy and to reinforce the requirement for the future navy.

The navy, along with several civilian naval-oriented groups, has commenced planning for 2010 activities across the country. Major international fleet assemblies are scheduled for June 2010 in Victoria and a month later in Halifax during the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo. As well, a group of naval warships will visit Toronto during the Canadian National Exhibition and an increased number of port visits are planned for both coasts and in the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes.

The Naval Reserves, with their 24 divisions in cities across Canada, are key to promoting the centennial and the navy across the country. There are several activities both local and of a national nature that they are considering including “Freedom’s of the City” parades, open houses, a cross-country run along the Canada Trail and other projects in cooperation with their municipality and local naval service groups.

An activity that promotes the underlying centennial theme is to develop a traveling road show, consisting of a small musical revue with naval band, an exhibition of naval artefacts and naval art. This troupe would, over the course of the centennial year, perform in many cities and towns across the country.

Another initiative being explored is for the navy to have a prominent role at major sporting events, exhibitions and other national cultural events during 2010.

Both Canada Post and the Royal Canadian Mint are considering a naval centennial stamp and coin respectively to commemorate this historic milestone. There are several other projects being progressed including the commissioning of a set of paintings and a coffee table book to commemorate the navy over the past one hundred years

Other ideas include a commemorative sword, historical conferences in Halifax and Ottawa, parades and dinners. Plans are underway to send to every First Nations people, city, town and region that has been honoured by having a Canadian warship named after it, information about their namesake ship so that they may have the opportunity to promote that ship, and thus, the Canadian Navy during the centennial year.

The centennial will be a momentous milestone both in our navy and nation’s history. We will honour the past, celebrate our achievements and recognize our obligation to Canada with the naval centennial slogan: Commemorate, Celebrate, Commit.

Canadians are encouraged to become involved in the centennial of our nation’s navy by joining in any of the public celebrations occurring near you.