Today’s date—Niobe Day—marks the arrival of His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Niobe in Halifax, N.S.
On Oct. 21, 1910, HMCS Niobe became the first Canadian warship to enter Canada’s territorial waters, ushering in the beginning of Canada’s naval service. The 11,000-tonne armoured cruiser was purchased from Britain’s Royal Navy by the Canadian government. It steamed across the Atlantic Ocean from Portsmouth, England, to Halifax.
ROYAL CANADIAN NAVY
Earlier in the year, on May 4, 1910, the Naval Service Act brought the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) into existence.
When the First World War broke out, the RCN had less than 350 sailors and two under-equipped warships; by the end of the Second World War, it had grown into one of the world’s greatest naval forces with about 100,000 men and women and a fleet of 365 warships.
Since its humble beginnings on Niobe Day, 1910, Canada’s navy—now the Command (MARCOM), which is the naval element of the Canadian Forces—has served in all the major theatres of war and serves as a great source of pride for Canadians.
On May 4, 2010, the Royal Canadian Mint issued four coins – one circulation coin and three collector pieces – in celebration of the 100th anniversary of naval service in Canada. The coin’s reverse design depicts a serviceman in a 1910 uniform alongside a female officer with a modern-day uniform. In the background is HMCS Halifax, which is the lead ship in the RCN’s current fleet. The navy’s centennial is also marked by an anchor along the top of the coin.