Navy ships’ crew members work together on a mock below-decks exercise during a recent Navy Day. This Saturday’s West Shore Navy Day event is being held at CFB Esquimalt’s property in Colwood.

West Shore Navy Day offers glimpse into sailors’ routines

Navy hosts open house in Colwood for the first time

The West Shore is hosting the biggest public navy event in a decade.

Despite having approximately 5,000 employees with the Department of National Defence living in communities across Greater Victoria, Capt. (N) Steve Waddell said the work of their military staff is still a mystery to some. So, the forces are looking to pull back the curtains.

“This is an opportunity to open the door, invite folks down to see what we do, the type of resources and equipment (we have) … and to meet most importantly the people who (use it),” he said. “It’s important for (the community) to resonate with the passion and pride our workforce has.”

West Shore Navy Day, welcomes the entire family to the relatively unknown facilities and jetties in Colwood on Saturday, June 11. The day will be highlighted with search and rescue demonstrations, army displays, a helicopter display, music from the Naden Band and tours of both HMCS Winnipeg and Saskatoon. It’s a rare opportunity that the public last enjoyed 10 years ago at Ogden Point in Victoria.

“It’s really an open house and it’s not just the navy that will be represented,” Waddell said. “There will be other units and forces, the air force will be there, the army and civilian and support agencies linked to the force … we are proud to showcase all of the capabilities and equipment that are presented across all the armed forces.”

There will also be interactive areas where visitors can undertake a military fitness test, take photos on a search and rescue plane or experience bomb squad activities.

“If we see children and families leave with a smile on their face and a better understanding, that’s our goal,” Waddell said. “People will leave better informed and know that their neighbour works on the base and supports activity that happens on the base.”

Visitors are asked to park at the View Royal Casino or the top parking lot at Royal Roads University, where free shuttles will run back and forth every 20 minutes. The first shuttle leaves at 10:15 a.m. The all-ages event runs from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for more information, including other transportation options, visit the CFB Esquimalt Facebook page at facebook.com/esquimaltbase.

alim@goldstreamgazette.com