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National Historic Site, RCMP St. Roch Closed Until Late Fall 2012
by Jen Hill 2012
St. Roch Under Wraps (Photo from Vancouver Maritime Museum Collection)
Every Ship Needs a Safe Harbour. Nearly fifty years after RCMP vessel St. Roch was brought ashore and the A-frame shelter built up and around her, the Vancouver Maritime Museum and the City of Vancouver are undertaking much-needed repairs to the building and fire suppression system to protect her from fire and water damage.
Although the A-frame shelter and St. Roch will be inaccessible during the repairs, all our other galleries will remain open, including featured exhibits: DON’T EAT THE WHALE MEAT and GIRL IN WETSUIT: A Journey to a Vancouver Icon. The Vancouver Maritime Museum is offering a variety of activities and crafts throughout the summer.
St. Roch was built for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to serve as a supply ship for isolated, far-flung Arctic RCMP detachments. St. Roch was also designed to serve, when frozen-in for the winter, as a floating detachment with its constables mounting dog sled patrols from the ship.
Between 1940 and 1942 St. Roch navigated the Northwest Passage, arriving in Halifax harbour on October 11, 1942. St. Roch was only the second ship to make the passage, and the first to travel the passage from west to east. In 1944, St. Roch returned to Vancouver via the more northerly route of the Northwest Passage, making the trip in a record breaking 86 days. The epic voyages of St. Roch demonstrated Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic during the difficult wartime years, and extended Canadian control over its vast northern territories.
Retired after returning from the Arctic in 1948, St. Roch was sent to Halifax by way of the Panama Canal in 1950. This voyage made St. Roch the first ship to circumnavigate North America. Returned to Vancouver for preservation as a museum ship in 1954, St. Roch was hauled ashore in 1958. In 1966 the A-frame building was built over her to protect her, and the Canadian Parks Service restored her to her 1944 appearance. The ship is the centerpiece of the Vancouver Maritime Museum at Kitsilano Point.
Editor's Note: Jen Hill is currently the Marketing Officer for the Vancouver Maritime Museum.
To quote from this article please cite:
Hill, Jen (2012) National Historic Site, RCMP St. Roch Closed Until Late Fall. Nauticapedia.ca 2012. http://nauticapedia.ca/Articles/St_Roch_Closed.php
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