Submariners have their cake and eat it too!
by Paul Seguna, LCdr (Ret’d), NAC- VI
Oak Bay, BC – On Sunday 23rd June, 2019, an event was held between 1 and 4 p.m. at the Windsor Park Pavilion in Oak Bay in recognition of serving Canadian submariners and their families. The event entitled the Summer Submariner Sizzler was co-sponsored by the Naval Association of Canada – Vancouver Island (NAC-VI), Submariners Association of Canada West (SAOC (W)) and Friends of HMCS Victoria (FOV).
The afternoon’s activities, including food, entertainment and family activities were provided at no cost to those participating. A number of local businesses generously supported the event with food and refreshments including; Thrifty Foods, Tim Hortons, Spinnakers Brewpub, Vancouver Island Brewing, Driftwood Brewing, Moon Underwater Brewery and Lighthouse Brewing. MFRC Esquimalt provided children’s activities for the event highlighting those who serve in submarines and giving special recognition to their families who support them. In his address to the audience of over one hundred and seventy attendees the event organizer and MC Patrick Hunt, NAC-VI and SAOC(W) member, stated: “the submarine service is often referred to as the Silent Service but the true Silent Service are the families who support our submariners and they deserve our sincere thanks and the recognition that this event is being held for today.” Those gathered were also addressed by Bill Conconi, NAC-VI branch and national NAC president, Lloyd Barnes representing SAOC(W), Walter Donald of the FOV and Captain (N) Stef Ouellet, Commander Canadian Submarine Force.
Participating in the event were veterans of the submarine service in an opportunity to interact with today’s submariners in their shared long tradition of service under the waves. Of particular note in that regard is the fact that the Canadian submarine service actually started right here in Victoria in 1914 with the acquisition of Canada’s first two submarines by the Province of British Columbia at the outbreak of WWI. Canadian submariners have served since then either in submarines of the Canadian Navy or in those of the Royal Navy during periods when Canada did not operate submarines of its own. Those interested in learning more about Canada’s submarine service might consider a visit to the CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military museum with its excellent exhibit on that subject. The museum is open during summer visiting hours seven days a week from 10:00 to 3:30 until 2nd September, 2019.