History of HMCS YORK

YORK was established April 10, 1923 when the Toronto Half-Company of the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve was established with a complement of 57 officers and men. YORK was one of the original divisions of the newly formed Royal Canadian Naval Reserve. During World War II YORK served as an important recruiting and training establishment in the war effort, with over 16,000 men and women joining the Navy through HMCS YORK. The unit was officially commissioned as one of HMC Ships in 1941. The present building was opened in 1946 and expanded in 1953. YORK also formed Canada’s first Air Reserve Squadron, VC 920, which was active from 1953 to 1961. In 1983, YORK was granted Freedom of the City of Toronto in recognition of contributions made to the community over the years. HMCS YORK won the coveted Silver Destroyer trophy in 1985, having been judged Canada’s top Naval Reserve division that year. Our ship’s crest bears the white rose of the House of YORK and our motto, “Bon Espoir”, means “Good Hope”. Eight ships of the Royal Navy have borne the name of “YORK”, dating back to 1660, the latest being a Type 42 destroyer decommissioned in 2012. HMCS YORK is the largest of the 24 Reserve divisions of the Royal Canadian Navy and is very active in its mission of providing trained sailors to meet the operational requirements assigned to the Reserves by the Commander, Royal Canadian Navy. Our ship’s company now consists of 335 men and women of all ranks from the greater Toronto area, and is broadly representative of our community as a whole. We work hard to fulfill our mission, which is to force-generate and employ trained, motivated, tactically-proficient sailors for the Royal Canadian Navy, and to provide a strategic outreach presence for the Navy in Canada’s largest city.