History sails into Goderich

The HMCS Oriole in Goderich on Friday, July 26, 2019. (Photo by Bob Montgomery)

The HMCS Oriole sailed into the Port of Goderich Friday morning.

Commander Drew Foran says the Oriole is not only the oldest ship in the Canadian Navy — built in 1921 — but the Oriole is also the longest-serving commissioned ship in the Navy.

“Commissioned in 1952. So she actually started out as a private yacht based in Toronto to quite a prominent family, who lent her to the Royal Canadian Navy during the war, where she did training of sea cadets and junior sailors in navigation, basic seamanship and she’s been doing that role ever since, up to 2017,” said Foran.

Foran said  the ship is on a three-month trip through the St. Lawrence Seaway and then through the Great Lakes.

The stop in Goderich marks the half-way mark in the trip.

Foran said the trip has gone very well so far and higher water levels in the Great Lakes have been noticeable.

“That’s been a factor in planning – the higher lake levels, but it doesn’t make it that much more difficult, to be honest. There are some berths where we can’t go because the water’s over the berth, of course. And it increases the currents a little bit in the river, making the handling of the ship a touch more difficult, but we’re well-trained in handling those factors, so not a problem,” said Foran.

Public tours of the HMCS Oriole will be available from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and through the weekend from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.