The Maritime Museum of BC is pleased to invite media to a Media Open House and exclusive preview of Home Port Heroes of WWI & WWII: The Merchant Navy, Shipyards, and the Disappearance of the HMCS Galiano, a featured exhibit at the Maritime Museum of BC in collaboration with Parks Canada.
About the Exhibit
The Maritime Museum of BC’s featured exhibit, Home Port Heroes of WWI & WWII: The Merchant Navy, Shipyards, and the Disappearance of the HMCS Galiano, explores the incredibly industrious efforts of Canadians on the “home front” of WWI and WWII, who contributed to the war efforts as ordinary citizens, with an emphasis on those living on the Pacific Northwest coast. The exhibit, in partnership with Parks Canada, will feature archival photographs, as well as artefacts from the Maritime Museum of BC’S collection.
On the Pacific Northwest Coast, many men and women toiled in British Columbian shipyards during the early 20th century, building desperately-needed cargo ships to transport supplies to the “war front”. The need for war-service ships grew by the outbreak of WWII in 1939, however the shipbuilding industry was left with a lack of traditional skilled labourers as many Canadian men headed overseas to fight. It was during this time that Canadian society witnessed a monumental shift, as women stepped in to fill these necessary jobs – considered highly unusual and against gender norms of the time.
The exhibit also explores the fishing vessels and yachts that were transformed into a “Merchant Navy” during WWI and WWII. Sailing across perilous seas and braving enemy-infested waters, these unsung heroes transported troops and delivered vital supplies to combat fronts around the world, often at great personal sacrifice; more than 1,600 Canadian and Newfoundland sailors gave their life in this service. The exhibit commemorates the HMCS Galiano, a fishing vessel that was under the Merchant Navy service and patrolled BC’s coast during WWI. The vessel disappeared almost 100 years ago, in October 1918 and was the only Canadian warship lost during WWI.