HMCS Bytown

There has been only one establishment named Bytown in the Royal Canadian Navy.

HMCS Bytown / Tender to Shore Establishment

HMCS Bytown Naval Officer's Mess

Badge of HMCS Bytown

HMCS Bytown was a depot ‘ship’ created to allow RCN personnel in Ottawa, ON, to be paid. All uniformed personnel needed to be borne on the books of a ‘ship’ for accounting purposes, even if they were serving at a shore establishment. This is a tradition held over from the Royal Navy, and these ships are often referred to as ‘Stone Frigates.’ Bytown served in this role for the Naval Service Headquarters (NSHQ) and the Ottawa Half-Company, the Naval Reserve Division that became HMCS Carleton on 1 November 1941.

Two years after Bytown was established, the HMCS Bytown Naval Officer’s Mess would open. The Mess is located at 78 Lisgar St in a building built in 1898. This was across from the Naval building of National Defence headquarters (now the site of Ottawa City Hall). While Bytown would be paid off in 1964, its name is carried on by the Mess. The Mess has managed to stay a staunchly naval institution despite several efforts to form a single officers’ mess for all three elements of the Canadian Armed Forces. Bytown remains a vital part of the social lives of Navy officers in the Nation’s Capital.

Date commissioned: 1 June 1941

Date paid off: 7 December 1964

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