Promoting Navy Heritage in Halifax
By Peter Stoffer,
Canadian Naval Memorial Trust,
Canada’s Naval Memorial, the corvette K181 by the name of HMCS Sackville, has her berth in the historic garrison city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is the last of those tremendous vessels that protected the shipping lanes and convoys in the North Atlantic during the Second World War.
Years ago this ship was to be scrapped and, if it was not for the vision and determination of some very capable people, she would have been lost to the history books. Today, over 1,000 people from across Canada have become trustees of Sackville and work very hard to not only keep her in tip-top shape, but also ensure future generations have the opportunity to visit and learn about Canada’s naval history.
Along with the cooperation of the Department of National Defence (our good friends in the Royal Canadian Navy), Sackville remains a beacon of dignity and respect for all those who served and gave their lives in the fight for freedom.
Which brings me to the subject of the Battle of the Atlantic Place. This extraordinary vision to permanently house Canada’s Naval Memorial in a stunning iconic building in Halifax, will be a truly outstanding tribute to all the men and women who served abroad and here at home.
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest battle during the Second World War, lasting from 1939 to 1945. Many historians, prime ministers of the day and others have stated that if it was not for the sea lanes being open to allow the many convoys to go from Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador to Great Britain, the war would have been lost. Getting those men and material to Europe was essential to have a successful conclusion to the war.
Battle of the Atlantic Place will be a dramatic architectural presence in a prime location on Halifax’s waterfront. Personally, I believe it will be to Canada what the Sydney Opera house is to Australia. Visible from and around the harbour, and with extensive harbour views, Battle of the Atlantic Place will deliver an innovative, immersive, story-driven and emotional journey for guests who will themselves become part of the story. This is not just a Nova Scotia or East Coast story. This was national historic Canadian event that changed Canada forever.
All Canadians, and for that matter the world, need to not only remember what a nation of 11 million was able to do, but also pay homage to all those who willingly gave up their lives so that we, today, may all be free.
As a Dutch-born Canadian whose parents were liberated by Canada and her Allies during the Second World War, I am very proud and honoured to be a trustee of Sackville. I encourage all Canadians to get behind this magnificent project so that future generations can honour and pay respect to those heroes of the past. To get involved or for further information, please contact www.battleoftheatlanticplace.ca
Peter Stoffer represented the federal riding of Sackville-Eastern Shore as Member of Parliament for 18 years. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust, which owns and operates HMCS Sackville, Canada’s Naval Memorial. Promoting Navy Heritage in Halifax first appeared in the Vol 23 Issue 9, October 2016 issue of Esprit de corps and has been re-printed with the kind permission of the publisher.