Crowd cheers historic first kiss
A long awaited homecoming for hundreds of sailors highlighted an exciting morning in the capital city today.
HMCS Winnipeg returned to the docks of Victoria after an eight-and-a-half month deployment overseas.
And the traditional on-shore reunion ceremony brought with it a little bit of naval history.
The first kiss after a long deployment at sea is a symbolic moment for the Navy. And for the first time, that moment took place between two men.
Master Seaman Francis Legare was finally able to embrace his partner Corey Vautour after more than eight months at sea.
“I have been away for 255 days so it feels great,” said Legare, ” Now I’m back, I’m here, it’s just unreal. It feels great. I’m just speechless right now.”
The first kiss is a great honour for sailors.
“It’s a great privilege to be able to go ashore and the first one to be able to get the chance to put your arms around the person you love the most,” says the ship’s Commanding Officer Jeff Hutchinson.
Who gets the first kiss is decided by a random raffle.
It’s a sign of the times that the navy is on board with a moment which may have been considered controversial not too long ago.
“We are reflective of society and we do recruit across all across society. If we don’t adapt we won’t have any sailors joining,” said Rear-Admiral Gilles Couturier, Commander of the Pacific Navy.
HMCS Winnipeg, which has a crew of 250, returned to Victoria today after eight months in the Caribbean and eastern Pacific.
Family members and loved ones were waiting all morning at the Victoria dockyards for the ship’s anticipated arrival Tuesday morning.
“This is eight months of pent of longing o come home and give your loved one a hug. I’m so pleased to be able to bring them home today,” says Cdr. Hutchinson.