Cruise destination - Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada - Visiting CSS Acadia - page two
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A Brief History
Like many turn-of-the-century Canadians, Acadia began life in Great Britain. She was built by Sawn, Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd - - the same firm that built the Mauretania - - at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She was launched and entered service in 1913.
Although built in Britain, she was designed to do hydrographic work off the north and eastern coasts of Canada. Thus, upon her arrival in Halifax in July 1913, she was designated a “Canadian Government Ship” and “CGS” added to her name. By the way, her name “Acadia” was the name of the French colony that included the area that now is Nova Scotia.
Acadia spent the next few years mostly charting Hudson's Bay. Her hull had been strengthened in order to allow her to operate in such ice-infested waters. As a result, she was occasionally pressed into service as an icebreaker.
In 1916, Acadia was called up for service in the Royal Canadian Navy and was designated HMCS Acadia. During this time, she conducted anti-submarine patrols and acted as a guard ship. On December 6, 1917, she was on guard in Halifax when two merchant ships, which were there to assmble into a convoy, collided. One was a munitions ship and the resulting explosion was perhaps the most powerful man-made, non-nuclear blast ever. Nonetheless, Acadia sustained only light damage. She is the only remaining ship to have survived the Halifax Explosion of 1917.
After World War I, Acadia was returned to the Hydrographic Survey of Canada (later the Canadian Hydrographic Survey). During this period, she was equipped with and tested such innovations as the gyro compass and the echo sounder.
Following Canada's entry into World War II in 1939, Acadia was once again called into the Royal Canadian Navy. She again served as a patrol vessel and later as a training ship.
In November 1945, she was returned to the Canadian Hydrographic Service, again taking on the designation “CSS” (Canadian Scientic Ship or Canadian Survey Ship). Her most noted achievement in the port-war period was to survey the coasts of Newfoundland and Labarador. She also engaged in a number of military surveys for the navies of Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Acadia's service life ended in 1969 when she was transferred to the Bedford Instiute of Oceanography for use as a museum ship. She was declared a National Historic Sitre in 1976.
In 1982, Acadia was transferred to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and towed to her present location on the Halifax waterfront. In addition to being a museum ship, Acadia has become a movie and television star as her well-preserved turn-of-the-century features have attracted filmakers anxious to use authentic sets for their productions.