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Princess Anne to commission Navy vessel in North Vancouver

The Royal Canadian Navy will be dropping anchor in North Van this weekend as 'fleet week' rolls out the red carpet to the public at Burrard Dry Dock Pier

Ahoy sailors!

The Royal Canadian Navy will be making a splash in North Vancouver this weekend as “fleet week” rolls out the red carpet to the public May 3-5 at Burrard Dry Dock Pier.

A glimpse of royalty is also possible, as Princess Anne, the sister of King Charles, will be a part of a commissioning ceremony for a new Harry DeWolf-class Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel, HMCS Max Bernays on Friday afternoon.

The Princess Royal, as she is also known, will be attending the event in her capacity as honorary Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Pacific fleet.

The commissioning ceremony – which is the formal process of putting a vessel into active service – will take place onboard the ship following Princess Anne’s arrival Friday afternoon and will not be open to the public.

The Princess will later travel onboard the vessel back to its home port of Esquimalt on Vancouver Island, where she will receive a 21-gun salute as the ship enters Esquimalt Harbour.

Roddy MacKenzie, a West Vancouver resident and lifelong member of Canada’s Monarchist League, said Princess Anne’s presence will help bring some celebrity star power to the Royal Canadian Navy’s activities this weekend.

The Princess Royal has a number of honorary military positions and regularly shows up at official engagements in military uniform, he noted.

“She’s one of the great rocks of the monarchy,” he said.

HMCS Max Bernays passes Duntze Head on its way into Esquimalt Harbour in April. Darren Stone / Times Colonist

Navy vessels open to public

In North Vancouver, the public will have chance to get up close to the Navy with tours of a Halifax-class patrol frigate HMCS Vancouver, Kingston-class maritime coastal defence vessels and Orca-class training vessels running from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 3; from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 4; and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 5 at Burrard Dry Dock.

To tour one of the ships, you must be able to climb stairs and ladders, stand for periods of time and be aware the ships may contain tripping hazards.

World of Warships livestream

Friday’s events in North Vancouver will also include the Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee, taking part in an online World of Warships livestream on Twitch between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Sunday’s events will also include a commemoration ceremony marking lives lost during the Battle of the Atlantic during the Second World War at the Sailor’s Point Memorial in Waterfront Park in North Vancouver from 11 a.m. to noon. The event will include members of the Royal Canadian Navy, naval veterans, and members of the sea cadets and the Navy League.

The Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Armed Forces will also have a variety of activities on the pier throughout the weekend, including a chance to gear up in naval firefighting equipment and breathing apparatus, to take part in a damage control simulation or see if you can pass the Canadian Armed Forces fitness test, which include components like sandbag lifts.

hmcs vancouver navy ship north van
HMCS Vancouver sits docked at Burrard Dry Dock Pier during an earlier fleet week event. Nick Laba / North Shore News

Correction: an earlier version of this story referred to HMCS Max Bernays as a Halifax-class frigate. That is incorrect. The ship is a Harry DeWolf-class Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel.