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Pre-Unification to Post-Unification

Prior to the Unification, military establishments across the country were identified as either Royal Canadian Air Force Station for the Air Force, His/Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship or Naval Radio Station for Naval shore stations or Camp or Barracks for the Army.

Eg: RCAF Station Rockcliffe, HMCS Stadacona, Naval Radio Station Aldergrove, Camp Borden, Work Point Barracks.

After Unification all military establishments were classed as either Canadian Forces Base, for establishments with 2 or more major units, or Canadian Forces Station, for establishments with only one major unit, such as a radar station. Eg: CFB Toronto, CFS Kamloops.

Into the 1990s and the 21st Century, while all bases were still officially Canadian Forces Bases or Canadian Forces Stations, there was somewhat of a push towards re-establishing a separate service identity for Canada’s military bases. Air Force Bases referred to as “Wings”. Army bases are referred to as “Barracks”, “Garrison”, “Camp” or “Area Training Centre”. Even Canada’s two major Navy bases made their former names prominent once again.

Eg: Canadian Forces Base Trenton is commonly known as 8 Wing Trenton.

Canadian Forces Base Edmonton (the former RCAF Station Namao) was referred to as Steele Barracks. Two of the Army’s Training Centres were Camp Wainwright and Land Force Central Area Training Centre Meaford.

The sign outside CFB Halifax (formerly HMCS Stadacona) reads “Maritime Forces Atlantic Stadacona”. Although CFS Mill Cove closed, the radio unit that ran the station was re-named Naval Radio Section Mill Cove to reflect its Naval heritage.

With the restoration of the RCAF, RCN and the Canadian Army names, the army re-named their bases according to divisions reminiscent of First or Second World War divisions. Land Force Quebec Area was re-named 2nd Canadian Division, Land Force Western Area as 3rd Canadian Division, Land Force Central Area as 4th Canadian Division, and Land Force Atlantic Area as 5th Canadian Division.

Eg: CFB Petawawa has been re-named 4th Canadian Division Support Base Petawawa, but is commonly called Petawawa Garrison.  CFB Gagetown was re-named 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown.

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  1. Ron Kinch

    My research into Caronport, SK as Number 33 Royal Air Force Elementary Flying Training School shows the base taken over by Briercrest School in 1946 Prior to that and during the training what were the letters describing the airport ?

    Did it have an airport status for any other flights other than military training.?


  2. Mark Provance

    As an American, I was stationed during the Cold War at CFB Chatham with the 425 MMS detachment of the USAF. I simply want to say that during my time spent there in 1972-1973, I could not have been treated more graciously by mv Canadian hosts. Every single one I met had a warmth and sense of humor that made me feel welcomed. They introduced me to all things Canadian including Schooner beer (which I miss) and curling. I was on the American team and since, by tradition, the winning team always bought the beer after the match, I never reached into my pocket to pay up. My wife and I shall be visiting New Brunswick next week. It won’t be the same, but I’m sure the province will still be as beautiful as ever. Thanks for the memories!

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad I brought back some memories for you.


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