HMCS Bonaventure Exhibit and HMCS Assiniboine Exhibit
The HMCS Bonaventure / HMCS Assiniboine exhibit is a ten-meter by two-meter diorama with 1/48 scale (approximate) models of the aircraft carrier Bonaventure and the helicopter carrying destroyer Assiniboine sailing in close formation. Both models were used as Navy training aids until no longer needed and donated to the museum. Scale model naval aircraft that embarked on the ships are displayed on the flight decks.
HMCS Bonaventure was constructed in 1943 in Northern Ireland as the British light fleet carrier, HMS Powerful . In 1952 the Canadian government purchased HMS Powerful for 21 million dollars and the carrier was commissioned in Royal Canadian Navy as HMCS Bonaventure in 1957. Bonaventure was named after the island bird sanctuary in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Crewed by more than 1200 personnel, Bonaventure incorporated the latest advances in aircraft carrier technology that included an angled deck, a steam catapult and a mirror landing system. At the same time the Navy acquired modern aircraft for Bonaventure's Air Group. The Grumman Tracker was purchased for anti-submarine warfare and McDonnell Banshee jet fighters provided air defence. The Sikorsky H04S helicopter was retained for anti-submarine screening and plane guard duties. In 1964, the Sikorsky Sea King helicopter replaced the H04S in the anti-submarine role.
HMCS Bonaventure was paid off on 3 June 1970.
HMCS Assiniboine was the last of the St. Laurent class Destroyer Escorts (DDE) entirely designed and built in Canada. At the time of HMCS Assinaboine's commissioning in 1956, the destroyer represented the latest technology in naval warship design.
After successfully pioneering the concept of operating large helicopters from small warships, the Royal Canadian Navy embarked on a modification program to make the St. Laurent class ships helicopter capable. HMCS Assiniboine was converted to a Helicopter Destroyer (DDH) in 1963. Major changes included construction of a hangar and a flight deck aft of amidships and installation of the Canadian designed and built “Beartrap” haul down system. The “Beartrap” enabled Sea King helicopters to be traversed into and from the hangar and to take off or land on a rolling, pitching flight deck. The ability to embark Sea Kings greatly extended the ship's anti-submarine warfare capability.
HMCS Assiniboine was paid off on 14 December 1988.