Based on Deadman’s Island in Stanley Park, the HMCS Discovery (Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship) was established as a Naval Training and Mustering Area during WWII. Today it is used by the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve Division. Usually off limits to the public, HMCS Discovery recently held an Open House with free entry. Susannah and I took the opportunity to explore.
We entered through the gate and were immediately welcomed by Sonar, the Royal Canadian Navy’s official mascot.
After crossing the bridge onto the Island we went into the Main Hall where there were many interactive booths and displays. There were marching drill practices, a veteran navy band, a medic display, and gear booths where you could see how heavy a full navy pack is, hold a handgun or even a grenade launcher (empty of course).
We went into the weapons simulation room where we were instructed on how to fire a rifle and simulated shooting at a target. The guns were very heavy and by the last few shots I had trouble keeping the barrel steady. The Navy men and women were very polite and friendly (I got addressed as “Ma’am” a lot). It was quite funny.
Next, we headed over to the Naval Museum. This was my favourite part of the day as the museum houses artifacts and objects many generations old. It’s always interesting to learn about history and to see how customs have changed.
I enjoyed this display of Women in the Navy.
There were drawers and drawers full of medals which were interesting.
Old instruments – fascinating!
There was a section of old photos – as a photographer I just loved these group shots. The time it must have taken to set everyone up!
The people manning the museum had some good stories to tell as well so it was an enjoyable visit. At the end of our trip we walked back through the gates and along the seawall. We saw the seaplanes coming and going and this one here timed perfectly with a ray of sunshine coming through the clouds.
It was a lovely day and an enjyable visit. HMCS Discovery only opens up to the public every few years but if you get the opportunity to go, I’d recommend the visit.