Rendez-vous 2017 - The Royal Canadian Navy's biggest strategic outreach event of the year

LINK - April 2017 / May 31, 2017

By Capt(N) Denis Thébeau, Naval Reserve Coordinator for Canada 150

In the past, the Naval Reserve (NAVRES) has always played an integral role in the Rendez-vous naval de Québec. In 2014, through the Royal Canadian Navy, the Chief of the Defence Staff entrusted NAVRES with the task of planning and carrying out the Rendez-vous naval de Québec. The event was deemed to be a great success by Canadian Heritage, the RCN and the Rendez-vous naval de Québec board of directors.

On 25 June 2015, the Prime Minister of Canada announced in Quebec City at the Pointe-à-Carcy Naval Complex that the Government of Canada would provide financial support for the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, the first large-scale signature event announced for the 150th anniversary of Confederation (Canada 150). The Rendez-vous naval de Québec is therefore adopting the name "RDV 2017" for this important milestone in Canadian history.

Nearly 40 military and civilian tall ships with over 3,000 crew members will set sail in Canadian waters in 2017, stopping at about 35 coastal cities in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes and giving thousands of people the chance to admire the majestic beauty of these giants of the sea. RDV 2017 will attract Canadians to cities, towns and villages along the St. Lawrence River and help to promote a greater understanding of the vital role this iconic Canadian waterway has played in the creation and development of our country. This river journey will culminate in Quebec City, where the tall ships will come together for a big celebration from 18 to 23 July 2017.

To benefit the Canadian Armed Forces and energize the institution, it has been decided that the RCN will adopt and maintain a proactive stance through NAVRES. This extraordinary opportunity will enable sailors, soldiers and airmen and airwomen to directly engage with Canadians and present the fundamental values of our military institution. This activity will advance the objectives of the outreach program in many ways. Given its expansive Canadian footprint, the Naval Reserve will once again spearhead this activity, as it naturally supports the strategic outreach objectives of the RCN.

For that reason, a coordination team has been put together at NAVRES Headquarters to work in cooperation with the RDV 2017 board of directors and the event organizer. Members of the team are as follows: Captain (Navy) Denis Thébeau, Lieutenant Commander Kevin Jutras, Lieutenant (Navy) Michael Savoie and Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Lillie. Our work will consist in identifying possible outreach activities and supervising, planning, and executing the naval elements (RCN) of the project. Ten NAVRES divisions will be involved: Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Brunswicker, HMCS Champlain, HMCS Montcalm, HMCS D'Iberville, HMCS Donnacona, HMCS Jolliet, HMCS Queen Charlotte, HMCS Radisson, HMCS Scotian and HMCS Star. Their work will essentially consist in supporting the ships' visits and RDV 2017 activities while maximizing outreach, leveraging recruiting opportunities and increasing the visibility of the RCN and NAVRES among members of the public. The Quebec Personnel Coordination Centre, Canadian Forces Fleet School Quebec and the National Band of the Naval Reserve will also contribute to the project.

RDV 2017 presents the RCN and the CAF as a whole with a unique opportunity to strategically communicate our essential roles to the Canadian public. The NAVRES divisions will be on the front lines, and it is an ideal opportunity to get each and every one of their crew members involved.