HMCS Glace Bay warship and local sailor visit Kingston

On Tuesday, Jul. 12 and Wednesday, Jul. 13, 2022, the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel (MCDV) HMCS Glace Bay made Kingston its port of call as part of its Great Lakes Deployment.

Docked in Kingston, the 181ft Royal Canadian Navy coastal patrol vessel launched in 1996, HMCS Glace Bay, has served in the Canadian Forces and Royal Canadian Navy and taken part in many military and defense exercises worldwide. Photo by Michelle Dorey Forestell.

HMCS (Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship) Glace Bay is a functioning warship of the Royal Canadian Navy. While entering the City’s harbour on Tuesday, sailors fired a ceremonial 6-pounder saluting gun — three harmless blank rounds — before coming alongside. This is a time-honoured naval tradition announcing friendly passage into a port. 

A 181-ft Royal Canadian Navy coastal patrol vessel launched in 1996, the HMCS Glace Bay has served in the Canadian Forces and Royal Canadian Navy, and taken part in many military and defense exercises worldwide.

Mayor Bryan Paterson welcomed the ship to the city in an official ceremony Wednesday, exchanging gifts with the ship’s commanding officer, Lieutenant-Commander (Lt.-Cmdr.) Jeremy Ruggles. The Mayor presented a commemorative plaque from the city, while the Lt.-Cmdr. presented a wooden engraving of the ship, which Paterson remarked he would proudly hang in his office.

Mayor Bryan Paterson accepts a wood engraving of the ship from its Commanding Officer, Lt.-Cmdr. Jeremy Ruggles, as Town Crier Chris Whyman looks on. Photo by Michelle Dorey Forestell.

Kingston Town Crier Chris Whyman was on hand to deliver this proclamation of welcome: “To the captain and crew of Kingston-class MCDV Glace Bay, the following proclamation of official Welcome to Kingston, Canada’s first capital and a World Heritage destination. It is indeed an honour to officially greet you and extend all hospitality to you during your stay in our fair city. It is recognized that HMCS Glace Bay was commissioned in Sydney on October 26, 1996. Leaving Halifax on September 10, she made her first Great Lakes trip. Since that time, we have been pleased to welcome you to our city on numerous occasions, today being no exception. In between your first visit and today, HMCS Glace Bay has supported Canada’s defense objectives, both domestically and internationally. On behalf of his worship, Mayor Bryan Paterson, [Kingston City] Council, and fellow citizens as well as Tourism Kingston, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you for your service to our country. May you have fair winds and following seas.” 

The Mayor toured the ship’s cockpit and even got a chance to sit in the captain’s chair.

The Glace Bay also has a local connection: Sailor First Class Alexis Pemberton, who is one of the ship’s crew. A Marine Technician, Pemberton is responsible for operating and maintaining highly technical electromechanical, propulsion, mechanical, and power generation/distribution systems, enabling the warship to float, move, and fight.

Sailor First Class Alexis Pemberton, a member of the crew of the HMCS Glace Bay, is from Kingston. Photo by Michelle Dorey Forestell.

Pemberton is happy to be able to visit with her grandparents and sister while docked in Kingston and has had a lot of fun showing her hometown to her fellow sailors, telling them the best restaurants to go to, and more.

She shared some of her thoughts about living on board a naval ship: “I really love sailing. It’s fun to be on board… we have a lot of inside jokes between us, and everyone is a lot of fun.”

While studying Physics at Queen’s University, Pemberton said, she attended a seminar where presenters from the Navy piqued her interest. She thought it would be very cool to have a summer job where she would see the technical side of what she was learning in school. “I just fell in love with it,” she said.  This is her sixth year in the Navy.

The main mission of this tour is recruitment, explained Lt.-Cmdr. Ruggles. “This tour is bringing the seagoing Navy into central Canada, reminding the Canadian people what the Navy does on the coast. Another big piece, though, this year specifically, is recruiting and attraction. So, we’re not only bringing the Navy to central Canada; we’re also hoping to bring some central Canadians back to the coast to join our career in the Navy.”

The ship was open to visitors for public tours on Wednesday afternoon from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the former Coal Dock, located at 36 Lakewatch Lane. Visitors were encouraged to come aboard and learn about life in the Navy. Canadian Armed Forces members were also at the Coal Dock to highlight the diverse opportunities available for those interested in joining the Forces.

To find out more about the HMCS Glace Bay’s Great Lakes Deployment and the Navy in general, visit the Canadian Forces’ We The Navy website.

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