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Active 1923-Present
Country Canada
Branch Royal Canadian Navy
Type Stone Frigate
Role Reserve Unit
Size Approx. 200
Garrison/HQ 659 Lake Shore Blvd W, Toronto, ON M5V 1A7
Motto(s) BON ESPOIR (Good hope)
Colours Azure Blue et White
Equipment Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat
Battle honours LOWESTOFT, 1665
SOLE BAY, 1672
TEXEL, 1673
NORWAY, 1940
Commander Robert Johnston, CD

HMCS York is a Canadian Forces Naval Reserve Division located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Dubbed a stone frigate, HMCS York is a land-based naval establishment.


The unit was established in 1942 to replace the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve Half Company created in 1923.[1] 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.

HMCS York was named after the original name of the City of Toronto and the first British commercial craft on Lake Ontario.[2]

York is home to the Canadian Forces Sailing Association's Toronto establishment.


During the Second World War, Toronto HMCS 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: 1926-1959[3]

  • home to Sea Cadet Corps and the Navy League of Canada (RCSCC Vanguard merged with RCSCC Haida, Ark Royal and the Navy League Wrenettes Corps in 1958) until 1959
  • sold Rameses Shrine Temple which remained here until 1983 when it became home to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 344

Canadian National Exhibition Automotive Building: 1942 - 1947

HMCS York Stone Frigate

HMCS York moved to its current location in 1959.

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.


Description: Azure a white rose of York rayonne Or.[2]

HMCS York Facilities
HMCS York plaque at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in Toronto

Significance: HMCS York was named after the original name of the City of Toronto and the first British commercial craft on Lake Ontario. The badge design was designed by the Admiralty who granted its use as the ship's badge for York.[2]


HMCS York serves as a Naval Reserve Division to 200 full-time and part-time naval personnel. The current Commanding Officer is Commander Robert Johnston, CD.

Lodger units at HMCS York:

Notable former members[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c Personnel, Government of Canada, National Defence, Chief Military. "HMCS York". Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  3. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°38′03″N 79°24′10″W / 43.6342°N 79.4028°W / 43.6342; -79.4028