HMCS Toronto MSE department community cleanup

Members of HMCS Toronto’s MSE department organized a community clean-up day on June 6 to help clear waste and debris from a section of roadway in Dartmouth.

HMCS Toronto MSE department community cleanup

By HMCS Toronto MSE

There are many different phases in the operational cycle of a Halifax-Class Frigate, and not all of them involve participating in domestic operations or sailing to faraway lands.  

Currently, His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Toronto is deep into its docking work period in Lévis, Quebec, with the crew stationed in Hangar 3 at 12 Wing Shearwater. Toronto’s current crew is much smaller than normal, and many of those remaining are providing assistance to various other ships, schools, courses and other fleet operations. Those who call Hangar 3 home, however, are actively participating in improving their communities. 

As part of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) commitment to its members being good community citizens, the Marine Systems Engineering (MSE) department in Toronto has pledged to undertake several community-related events during the summer months of 2024. These activities are aimed at improving our local communities or raising funds for charities that support the local area. For June, Toronto teamed up with a local environmental group to conduct a community clean up. 

On the warm, sun-drenched morning of June 6, members of Toronto’s MSE department gathered together, donned their classic blue and white hockey jerseys over their work dress, and embarked with gloves and garbage bags in hand to a section of roadway on Pleasant Street between Belmont and Woodside avenues in Dartmouth. This stretch of road, which is clearly visible to members of the public who live in Eastern Passage and CAF members travelling to and from Shearwater, had become strewn with litter and debris and was in desperate need of a helping hand. 

The area’s residents noticed an increase in waste, which not only marred the surroundings’ natural beauty but also threatened local wildlife. Recognizing the need for action, and hot on the heels of 12 Wing’s own annual base clean up, Toronto’s MSE department decided to take this initiative in support of their community. 

“We are sailors, and part of our duty is to protect and serve, not just on the seas but also in our communities,” said Petty Officer Second Class (PO2) Alex McFadden, the organizer of the event.  

“When the idea was presented to the Commanding Officer, it was met with strong support. This cleanup day is a testament to our commitment to the environment and our dedication to community service.” 

The accumulation of litter was significant: plastic bottles, food wrappers, discarded cans, and various other debris that had been carelessly discarded. The team worked methodically, picking up every piece of trash they encountered. When asked about their contributions, Master Sailor (MS) Daniel Monsey replied “It’s disheartening to see how much waste people discard without thinking of the consequences, but being out here cleaning up gives you a sense of accomplishment. It’s a small act, but it has a big impact.” 

Energized by the honks and cheers from passing motorists who appreciated their efforts, Toronto’s crew removed a significant amount of garbage and recyclables from the roadway and ensured they were properly disposed of. By noon, the area between Belmont and Woodside Avenues had undergone a remarkable transformation. What once was a litter-strewn roadside was now a clean and inviting space.  

HMCS Toronto is one of seven Halifax-Class Frigates based out of Halifax. Toronto is currently in the middle of its docking work period in Lévis, Quebec and is expected to return to Halifax in 2025.