HMCS Sackville a big draw for summer tourists
By Ryan Melanson,
HMCS Sackville is one of the top destinations for tourists along the Halifax Waterfront and across the region, and they’ve got the certificate to prove it.
The last of Canada’s Second World War Corvettes, now a museum ship under the care of the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust, recently received its 2017 Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor. These are awarded each year based on the attractions or businesses that get consistently strong reviews from the website’s users, and Sackville has been chosen a number of years in a row.
“It shows that we’re still getting good reports from guests, and we’re pretty pleased to be included in the top 10 year after year, out of about 150 sites in the HRM,” said Doug Thomas, the executive director of the Memorial Trust, after the vessel’s first fully open day of the season on June 26.
Every summer, Sackville crew members meet visitors or cruise ship passengers who have family naval or Second World War connections, who are military or history buffs, or who are simply moved by touring such an impressive piece of Canadian history and getting a small look at what life was like for sailors during the Battle of the Atlantic.
“It’s a place that is often a destination for people when they get here. All of us have had people who come to the ship and describe it as being the main thing they want to see on their cruise or while they’re in Halifax,” Thomas said.
“She’s the last one; there simply are no more corvettes of her type.”
And even for those who aren’t planning on stepping on board Sackville before touring the waterfront, the imposing structure and its unique camouflage paint tends to capture attention, and the Trust has found that the ship’s visual presence downtown is also its most effective form of publicity, Thomas said.
“We’ve spent considerable sums through the years to advertise ourselves, but the best advertising seems to be the eyeball itself.”
The ship is now open for tours at the waterfront seven days a week, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and visitors can choose to explore Sackville on their own or get a guided tour. A few keen summer students are brought on for this purpose each year,, and one of the Duty Trustees, normally a serving or retired RCN member, is typically on board as well.
“We’ve got a very interesting group on board to show people around,” Thomas said.
For more information about Sackville, the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust, or the ongoing Battle of the Atlantic Place project, visit http://hmcssackville.ca