HMCS York is a Canadian Forces Naval Reserve Division located in Toronto, Ontario. Before the move to its current location on Lake Shore Boulevard West, it had been situated on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition. Today, it serves as a training unit to 200 full-time and part-time naval personnel.
The unit was established in 1942 to replace the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve Half Company created in 1923. During World War II, it was a premiere naval recruiting depot in the British Commonwealth through which over 17,000 personnel passed during the years of the war.
YORK is home to the Canadian Forces Sailing Association's Toronto establishment.
During the second World War, Toronto H.M.C.S. York fielded a Football Team in the Ontario Rugby Football Union (ORFU). Some of the notable players and coaches associated with the team were: Royal Copeland, Steve Karrys, Bob Stewart and the coach Teddy Morris.
Although located on the Lake Ontario shoreline, YORK has no facilities for naval ships. Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB) are deployed at the Division, but the mooring facilities to the south of HMCS York belong to Toronto's branch of the Canadian Forces Sailing Association, National Yacht Club and Alexandra Yacht Club, and are for pleasure craft and such working vessels as serve the Clubs.
Prior to 1947 the Division was located at two other locations:
- 1395 Lake Shore Boulevard West: ? - 1942
- Canadian National Exhibition Automotive Building: 1942 - 1947.
YORK moved to the current base at 659 Lake Shore Boulevard West in 1947.
HMCS York parades one of the five Royal Canadian Naval Reserve Ship's Bands in Canada. The band is a professional brass and reed band with approximately 30 members. Their primary operational and training period is from September to May. The band can parade soloists, flute duets, brass quintets, jazz combos, small ensembles, a Big Band stage band, a concert band and a parade band. The band is often the most visible naval presence in the GTA with annual parades, concerts and services.
The ship's motto is "Bon Espoir" ("Good Hope”).
Lodger units at HMCS York:
- Naval Reserve air squadron, VC 920: 1953 - 1963.
- Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Vanguard: 1958–present.
- Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron 618 Queen City: January 10, 1956 – present.
Notable former members
- Leading Seaman Robert Binder MB, recipient of the Medal of Bravery.
- Lieutenant Chris Devita MB, CD, recipient of the Medal of Bravery.
- Captain Peter C. Newman CC, CD, author of non-fiction Canadiana (mainly in the field of business) and former editor of The Toronto Star and Maclean's.