CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum is located at Naden on Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, in the city of Victoria, BC. The museum’s goal is to collect, preserve, interpret and display the history and heritage of the naval presence on Canada’s west coast and of the military on Southern Vancouver Island.
How we do it
At the museum, read and learn about:
Characters and controversies
Facets of a sailor’s life
Defending the west coast
Consider getting involved in museum projects aimed at providing insight into our naval and military history. For more information, please visit the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum website.
CFB Esquimalt history
A permanent naval presence in Esquimalt was first established in 1855. Rear Admiral Bruce instructed Governor James Douglas to construct three hospital huts, intended to care for British sailors and soldiers wounded during Crimean War naval actions near Petropavlovski, on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. Fortunately, the only casualty was a sailor from HMS Brisk suffering from scurvy.
Construction of the Royal Navy graving dock began in 1876 and the facility received its first vessel, HMS Cormorant, on July 20, 1887. Built for the Royal Navy as a prerequisite to British Columbia’s entrance into Canadian Confederation, the graving dock was state-of-the art and capable of serving the Royal Navy’s largest ships. Its total cost was $1,177,664, an enormous amount in 1887. In the process of construction, two companies went bankrupt and one provincial government was ousted.
The graving dock strengthened the Royal Navy’s capabilities in the Pacific and promoted growth in the surrounding village of Esquimalt and British Columbia as a whole. In the first seven years after construction, 94 ships, including 24 merchant ships, were laid up in the dock. By serving merchant ships, the graving dock facilitated trade, travel and communication with British colonies in Asia. Work at the graving dock averaged 21 ships yearly from 1887-1927. After the completion of the larger federal graving dock in 1924, the naval graving dock was put out of use until HMCS Coaticook docked there on August 31, 1945.
Did you know?
The museum is open Monday through Friday, 10:00 am - 3:30 pm, closed on statutory holidays. During the summer months, the museum is open weeklong. For summer opening information, check the museum website at - www.navalandmilitarymuseum.org.
For group bookings and tours information, contact 250-363-4312.
Please note: there is a $75 standard fee for guided tours of the Museum for members of the public ($50 for seniors' groups). For more information, please visit the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum website.