HMCS Haida National Historic Site in the Heart of Ontario | Toronto Teacher Mom

HMCS Haida National Historic Site in the Heart of Ontario

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, HMCS Haida National Historic Site is home to a distinct class of destroyer. 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 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. 

HMCS Haida - Hamilton

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.

HMCS Haida - ship-keeper Jim

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.

HMCS Haida National Historic Site - armament

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 Radio Room, 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?

HMCS Haida National Historic Site - radio room

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.

HMCS Haida National Historic Site - wardroom

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 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 HMCS Haida and other places to visit in the Hamilton Halton Brant area this summer, visit

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. 

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  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.

  3. Debbie White BeattieNovember 6, 2017 at 11:42 PM

    What a huge ship and isn't it cool how they let you go on board and look around. I would love to do that.

  4. I compliment you on a very well put-together page and accurate descriptions of the ship and her features. If I may suggest a couple of corrections, only in the spirit of constructive criticism: The image of your daughter, Jim and the sailor shows them inside the wood paneled radio room. The Operations Room is the small room behind the wheelhouse.
    Your image with the red leather settee and armchairs is the wardroom. The wardroom flats is the space outside the wardroom that acts like a hall, giving access to the five cabins and the wardroom pantry.
    The final item is that it is incorrect to use the article "the" before the letters HMCS since they stand for "His Majesty's Canadian Ship." I find Canadians are heavily influenced by the USA where it is correct to say "the USS John H. Bloggins", and it is even done by the media in this country.
    HAIDA is actually considered by the Navy to be a small ship. Her displacement is about 2,500 tons, while a cruiser from her time would have been about 10,000 and a battleship around 45,000 tons.
    But it is an excellent page, and I enjoyed reading about you visit.

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful feedback and insights into HMCS Haida. Much appreciated!


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