29 June 2010
Halifax, Nova Scotia
The Canadian Atlantic Fleet will mark the 100th Anniversary of the founding of Royal Canadian Navy with the International Fleet Review on June 29. As many as 22 foreign ships are expected to anchor in the Bedford Basin/Halifax Harbour for the event. Her Majesty The Queen will review the fleet onboard HMCS St. John’s, in the presence of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
According to tradition, participating ships anchor in two or more lines with an open passage between them. Each ship is dressed with the flags and pennants of their country in a colourful display. The crew is positioned on the upper decks while the officers and the Captain are on the bridge. As the reviewing vessel sails past, the ships’ companies give, in turn, three cheers to the reviewing officials and wave their caps, while officers and Captain salute.
Originally, the Fleet Review was a way of demonstrating the strength of the fleet to a potential enemy in anticipation of war. The first recorded fleet review was put on for King Henry V at Southampton in 1415. Naval assemblies date back to 1773 when King George III reviewed the British fleet following the Seven Years’ War. Over the years, the International Fleet Review has become a Royal Navy tradition.
The first fleet review in Canadian waters took place in July 1958 on the occasion of the British Columbia Centenary. On this occasion, Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret reviewed 32 ships in the Royal Roads anchorage from the deck of HMCS Crescent. In June 1959, The Queen reviewed Canadian and U.S. warships near Montréal during the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Later that year, she reviewed 30 ships and submarines of the Royal Canadian Navy in Halifax Harbour.