Crews from HMCS Vancouver, Winnipeg reunite with families after six months


Families and friends reunited with sailors and air crews onboard HMCS Vancouver and Winnipeg after nearly six months of deployment in the Indo-Pacific.

“I’ve been counting down the days to be here,” said Linda MacKay while waiting for her son.

Hundreds of families and band members, as well as Defence Minister Anita Anand, waited anxiously for nearly 500 service members at the Esquimalt Harbour early Monday morning. Crews on the Royal Canadian Navy ships were returning from deployment in the Indo-Pacific lasting 173 days.

The frigates sailed to eight countries completing two operations, which included training exercises with allied countries and monitoring sanctions imposed on North Korea.

“My wife lives in Victoria. I fly sometimes every month,” said Sergey Kuleshov.

Kuleshov, a Calgary resident, travelled to Esquimalt to deliver flowers to his wife, Natalia. Her deployment didn’t stop him from visiting her wherever he could.

“When my wife stay in Singapore, by flight, I go to my wife [sic],” said Kuleshov.

Each ship had a lucky couple selected for the first ceremonial kiss, which is something that was on the mind of Master Sailor Thomas McDavid a week before his arrival.

“I haven’t stopped smiling since, it’s a tradition that we do in the Navy and it was my first time getting the first kiss and it was wonderful,” said McDavid.

For Shelby Cavill, she’s looking forward to spending quality time with her boyfriend Nathaniel Bourke.

“Eat some good food and drink wine, just chill,” said Cavill as she chuckled.

The ships were deployed as part of Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy. With at over $490 million invested, the government says it reinforces the country’s defense presence in the region.

“Anytime that we go out at sea, there’s great challenges and great rewards….and here we are, alongside our families and being able to be reunited with is a great reward today,” said HMCS Winnipeg Commader Annick Fortin.

Oli HerreraOli Herrera

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