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 and home to 17,000 personnel.
The base is home to the Canadian Forces Sailing Association.
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, the base has no docking facilities for naval ships. Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) are deployed at the base, but the docking facilities to the south of HMCS York belong to the National Yacht Club of Toronto for private vessels.
Prior to 1947 the base was located at two other locations:
- 1395 Lake Shore Boulevard West: ? - 1942
- Canadian National Exhibition Automotive Building: 1942 - 1947.
It moved to the current base at 659 Lake Shore Boulevard West in 1947.
HMCS York hosts one of the five Naval Reserve 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 field 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.