Nootka was ordered on 23 August 1937. She was laid down on 1 February 1938 by Yarrows Ltd. at Esquimalt and launched 26 September later that year. She was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy on 6 December 1938 at Esquimalt.
After commissioning, Nootka was assigned to Esquimalt. When the Second World War commenced, she remained a part of the Esquimalt force, performing local patrol duties. In March 1940, she and her sister, HMCS Comox, transferred to the east coast, joining the Halifax Local Defence Force upon arrival. She performed local patrol and minesweeping duties in and around Halifax harbour. She spent the rest of the war in this service.
On 1 April 1943, Nootka gave up her name so it could be used by a newly constructed Tribal-class destroyer. She was renamed Nanoose but kept her pennant number. She was paid off 29 July 1945 at Halifax and laid up.
In 1946 she was sold to Chinese interests and converted for commercial use. She reappeared as the tugboat Sung Ling.