Vancouver Island has been home to a significant naval presence since the 1840s. The need for a permanent naval presence on British Territory in the North Pacific Region resulted in the development of a naval base in Esquimalt in 1855. The base continued to develop over the years and eventually featured the Esquimalt Graving Dock which was built in 1876. The graving dock was vital to the growth of the local economy and is still a crucial aspect of naval operations today.
In 1910 The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) inherited the Royal Navy Dockyard in Esquimalt, BC. Since then, the military has grown to be the third largest employer in the Greater Victoria Area with about 4,000 military and 2,000 civilian personnel. Today, Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC) is the Pacific formation of the RCN. MARPAC is headquartered at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt and provides maritime security in the North Pacific region
MARPAC tracks all ships in the designated area of responsibility and defends the unimpeded use of the seas - protecting the right to innocent passage of lawful commerce. The maritime security provided by MARPAC is vital to Canada’s physical and economic safety as a maritime nation bounded by three of the world’s oceans.
MARPAC is home to the 13 ships and two submarines of Canadian Fleet Pacific (CANFLTPAC). With the support of Her Majesty’s Canadian Dockyard, the Pacific Fleet generates and operates balanced, multi-purpose maritime forces to support domestic and international Canadian security operations.
MARPAC Quick Facts
- Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt is Canada’s West Coast naval base. It encompasses 12,000 acres and 1,500 buildings.
- CFB Esquimalt contributes $500 million into the local community annually.
- Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton employs 1,200 skilled trade workers and provides all necessary naval engineering, repair and maintenance for the Canadian Pacific Fleet.
- Canadian Forces Fleet School Esquimalt employs over 300 military and civilian professionals that conduct hard sea trades training for the naval defence team.
- Fleet Diving Unit Pacific provides diving support to MARPAC. The unit was established after World War Two as a Mine Counter diving unit. Today, the unit can be deployed throughout the world to carry out weapon neutralization operations on land, sea, or air.