Thursday, July 11, 2013

HMCS Haida National Historic Site in the Heart of Ontario


Located in my hometown of Hamilton in the Heart of Ontario, the HMCS Haida National Historic Site is home to a distinct class of destroyer. The HMCS Haida is a Tribal Class ship which served during the Second World War, Korean War and Cold War. Only 27 such ships were built, eight of which were built for Canada. Thirteen were sunk, thirteen were scrapped and only the Haida remains. When our family was invited to take a tour of the site, it felt like an honour to be able to witness first-hand a piece of remarkable Canadian history. 


Upon boarding the massive ship, guests are given a station card, similar to what the sailors would receive. We were greeted by our lovely tour guide as well as Jim the ship-keeper.


There are about 26 stops on the tour where you can learn about where the sailors ate, slept and spent their time off duty, visit command centres, discover the inner workings of the ship and see the armament up close.


We walked the catwalks, saw the Captain's Sea Cabin and experienced the view, or lack thereof, from behind the helm.


And we were graciously given an opportunity to hang out in the Operations Rooms, which is generally not open to the public. All the equipment in this wood-panelled room is fully functional and my daughter was given a chance to transmit a coded message using one of the original typewriters. Yeah, typewriters. Remember those?




It had rained that morning so the surface of the ship was wet. I am glad I wore my new rubber-soled Skechers shoes. The skies were overcast but you could still sea the Burlington Bridge.


After walking through most areas of the ship and taking note of the cramped quarters shared by a crew of 230, I was surprised to see the luxurious furnishings in the Wardroom Flats.


After our tour was over, we were able to select a sailor's badge and other memorabilia. We had spent about an hour and a half aboard the HMCS Haida and we left at around 11:45, at which point the inside of the ship had already begun to warm up drastically.  I suggest getting there as early as possible to avoid the heat. The site is open daily 10 am to 5 pm, 7 days a week. 


Entry fees range from $1.90 for youth and $3.90 for adult to $9.80 for a family or group. You're definitely getting a bang for your buck! You can see more pictures from our tour by clicking on the album below.

HMCS Haida, Hamilton, Ontario

For more information on the HMCS Haida and other places to visit in the Hamilton Halton Brant area this summer, visit theheartofontario.com.

Next stop on our itinerary: lunch at the Bell Homestead Cafe in Brantford.

Disclosure: This post is one in a series highlighting family-friendly heritage and outdoor experiences in Hamilton Halton Brant, for which we received complimentary access and special perks. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own. 

2 comments:

  1. This is very cool! Living in Victoria we've managed to go aboard a few of our ships. The tight quarters always get to me!

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  2. Oh my husband would love to tour this, great shots. He is such a navy buff. We use to live on the coast and have toured a few ships. The hubby still talks of his Sea Cadet days and when he had time on a destroyer.

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