Great-great-granddaughter of Oriole builder amazed during visit

Navy News / October 7, 2019

Her only connection to her great-great-grandfather was an old desk. Then Victoria Gooderham, 29, ancestor of Oriole builder George H. Gooderham, recently reunited with her past through a specially-arranged family visit to the ship.

In the fleet since 1952, HMCS Oriole is the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) longest commissioned ship. It was originally built in 1921 for the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto under the order of the club’s Commodore George H. Gooderham.

George H. Gooderham died in 1942 but his family is still proud of its ancestral connection. On August 9, 77 years after his death, the RCN welcomed several of Gooderham’s descendants for a tour aboard Oriole in Milton, Ontario.

“It is a really great piece of history that we got to share,” said Victoria Gooderham who visited the ship for the first time that day. “It’s just a stunning, amazing sailboat.”

Victoria Gooderham doesn’t really know a lot about her great-great-grandfather. She knows he had a moustache and she knows he was dedicated to sailing. Visiting Oriole was an amazing opportunity to connect with her personal history, she said.

“I was amazed at how nice the furnishings were down below,” she said. “Thank god it’s in the military because they take care of it so well.”

Sailing must be something in the blood. Amazingly, all of George H. Gooderham’s descendants who visited Oriole that day were at one point in their lives sailors.

Oriole is currently used as a ‘sail training vessel’, teaching naval cadets and other sailors about both rigging and life at sea. The ship also participates on the annual Great Lakes Deployment, aiding in recruitment and spreading the message of the RCN throughout Quebec, Ontario, and the United States.