School Visits

Absolutely free of charge to schools, school boards and students

School visit is an initiative to increase public awareness among Canadian youth to the contributions made by Canada, Canadians, the Royal Canadian Navy and HMCS HAIDA in WW II, the Korean War and the Cold War.

The cost of our visit is paid for by our sponsors and offered absolutely free of charge to schools, school boards and students. Our visits focus on three primary areas:

  1. A brief discussion of pre-WW II economic conditions in Canada prior to 1939.
  2. The Declaration of War, the Battles of the Atlantic and St. Lawrence; Britain and Canada go it alone initially with no USA participation.
  3. The impact WW II had on Canadians in general and why WW II differed from the Korean War and the Cold War for most Canadians. Focus will be on Canada’s total wartime commitment, such as wartime rationing, military production of arms/ammunition, delivery of war material and personnel to Britain.

We will also cover:

  1. Canada’s most important contributions to winning WW II:
    • Battle of the Atlantic – 1 million tons per week shipped to Britain by convoy.
    • Manufacturing of goods including weapons, ammunition, tanks, ships and aircraft.
    • Personnel training.
    • Steel manufacturing in Hamilton.
    • Wartime rationing of certain foods and metals (ie steel, iron, aluminum) at home.
    The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest lasting battle. Prime Minister Winston Churchill considered it “the most important battle of the war” and was the dominating factor all through the war. We will discuss Canada’s role in this battle and the lesser known Battle of the St. Lawrence.Britain required more than a million tons of imported food and materiel per week in order to be able to survive and fight on against her enemies. In essence, the Battle of the Atlantic was the struggle to maintain the shipping lanes that enabled Britain and later Russia, to survive. Our presentation will discuss convoys, Canada’s Navy and the Merchant Navy’s roles in North Atlantic convoys.
  2. Why HMCS HAIDA and HMCS Athabaskan are often mentioned together.
  3. The role of Canada, Canadians, the Royal Canadian Navy and HMCS HAIDA in the Korean War. Includes an understanding of the origins of the conflict, the participants and Canada’s contributions.
  4. The role of the RCN and HMCS HAIDA in the Cold War Cuban Missile Crisis and naval blockade.
  5. Bringing HMCS HAIDA to Toronto and later to Hamilton.
  6. Why HMCS HAIDA is an important Canadian ‘National Historic Site’.

Each visit lasts approximately 1 hour and is supported by brief film clips and a PowerPoint presentation. In addition, any veterans doing the presentation will relate some of their personal experiences.

In-School Veteran Visits & Guest Speakers
To book speakers, please email Educational Director, Mike Vencel or call 905-523-0682


Friends of HMCS HAIDA:

  • Mike Vencel
  • Andy Barber
  • Ron Kirk
  • Neil Bell
  • Rev. Canon Bill Thomas
  • Alec Bramson
  • Martin Pandzich
  • HooJung Jones


Dear Mr. Vencel,

I wanted to send you a quick email to thank you for coming to spend some time with our children at Parkview Children’s Centre. The kids were very excited during the days leading up to your visit, and it was clear that you did not disappoint! It was so neat for us to see them interested in something that is so important to Canadians. You could definitely see their interest when at the end of the day, as each child was being picked up by their parents, they began re-telling the stories you had told them. One boy in particular was very concerned about the families you had mentioned eating the food the crew on your ship had thrown out as garbage. It was very touching to see the empathy that we have been trying to foster in these children become apparent on a day that means so much to the adults as well.

On behlaf of the staff, students, and parents at Parkview Children’s Centre, thank you and please feel free to visit our centre anytime!

Jaime Rands, R.E.C.E.,
Preschool Classroom Teacher,
Parkview Children’s Centre

Dear: Friends of HMCS HAIDA

My name is David Kennedy and I am a high school history teacher. I had the privilege of having Mike and Alec come into my class to tell the students about their lives in the Canadian military. They had plenty of great stories which the students found very exciting. I try my best to bring the reality of war to the students but nothing compare to hearing it from someone who experienced it.
They also brought in plenty of great resources which they gave to me as a gift, which I will use for years to come in my teaching career.
I would like to thank the Friends of the HMCS HAIDA for enriching the learning experience of my students.

Thank You
David Kennedy
Corpus Christi S.S

Looking to book a speaker

To book speakers, click here for the contact form, send an email to Mike Vencel, Educational Director To book speakers, click here for the contact form, send an email to Mike Vencel, Educational Director or call 905-523-0682