HMCS Winnipeg celebrates the holidays on operations

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Navy News / December 23, 2015

By Sub-Lieutenant Jamie Tobin, Public Affairs Officer, HMCS Winnipeg

While most Canadians enjoy this holiday season at home with their families, more than 250 sailors, soldiers and air force personnel on board Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Winnipeg will be spending the holidays with their ‘other’ family, the ship’s company.

“Our families have the important job of keeping our lives on track back home so that we can continue conducting operations at sea. We will certainly miss them over the holiday season,” says Commander Pascal Belhumeur, the Commanding Officer of HMCS Winnipeg. “Our crew is like our second family and it is a great family to spend it with.”

Winnipeg has put together a Christmas Committee that has been working hard since early November to make sure that the holiday is an enjoyable one. They have been decorating the ship and playing holiday movies since early December. Activities are planned for the holidays, including a Christmas at Sea celebration which took place on the 20th, and a traditional naval Christmas Levee on the 25th.

“We have a great group on board Winnipeg to celebrate this holiday season with and we have a lot of fun stuff planned to keep us in the festive spirit.” said Lieutenant-Commander Kevin Whiteside, Winnipeg’s Executive Officer. 

For the celebration at sea, there was a special holiday breakfast served, hot chocolate, cider and candy canes served at the traditional soup time. There was also a craft corner, gingerbread house decorating and a rendition of the story of Christmas performed in the ship’s hangar.

On Christmas Day, the committee will be conducting Operation SANTA where the crew will receive special deployment care packages, the youngest member will become the Commanding Officer of the day, and a traditional turkey with all of the trimmings will be prepared by the ship’s incredible culinary team.

In addition to the celebrations, the ship is holding a Clothing Drive and Toy Drive for items to donate to families in need at their upcoming port of call and holding a number of holiday themed fundraising events in support of the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign.

“No matter where we are in the world, the holiday season remains the same and we are doing our best to make this a memorable holiday for our entire crew!” exclaims Petty Officer 1st Class Sherri Jones, proud member of the HMCS Winnipeg Christmas committee.