About half way between the mega-cities of Toronto and Windsor-Detroit, the hamlet of Port Burwell, Ontario is nestled on the north shore of Lake Erie. Part of the Municipality of Bayham, Port Burwell has a rich history that includes fishing, farming, and recreational activities.
On a recent drive eastward along Nova Scotia Line and a swing south on Bridge Street toward the lake, a startling sight appeared as we crossed the bridge over Big Otter Creek. There on the right loomed a sight many would think of as foreign.
Retired Royal Canadian Navy Rear-Admiral Dan McNeil, project manager of Project Ojibwa for the Elgin Military Museum, would not agree. "HMCS Ojibwa belongs to all Canadians," he said. Dan has been instrumental in bringing Project Ojibwa to fruition.
The Ojibwa, a Cold War-era Oberon-class Canadian submarine, was retired from active service in 1998. The first of three such boats built for the RCN in Chatham, England, Ojibwa paved the way for sister vessels Onondaga and Okanagan. Onondaga is a museum-piece in Rimouski, Quebec, while the Okanagan, alas, went to the wreckers' yard. HMCS Ojibwa is undergoing last-minute installation and tiddlying-up for her grand opening to the public on July 6th. A magnificent sight, indeed.