Great Britain's survival and the conduct of the war in Europe were almost entirely dependent on the supply of raw materials, equipment and food from North America. Canada, with a population of barely 11 million, limited industry and minimal armed forces in 1939, quickly mobilized, and along with the neighboring colony of Newfoundland rose to the challenge. Canadians volunteered for active service, building more than 1,200 naval and merchant ships, and crewing Royal Canadian Navy ships and Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft to escort and defend the convoys against submarine attack. The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest and most decisive battle of the Second World War, and winning it at sea came at a high price with the loss of 24 Canadian naval and 72 merchant ships, numerous maritime patrol aircraft and over 5,000 members of the RCN, RCAF and Merchant Navy.
Battle of the Atlantic Place will not be a museum. It will recognize and honour a generation that was supremely challenged, fought with great courage, and advanced Canada onto the world stage. It will be an innovative, experiential centre where guests do much more than learn about the greatest naval battle of World War II. Guests will go on a journey that gives them a visceral sense of Canada's decisive role in winning the war itself. They'll feel what it was like to serve at sea in a ship under constant threat, to design and build hundreds of ships in an impossibly short period of time, to fly the unforgiving skies over one of the stormiest oceans in the world, to industrialize on a national level when there was very little capacity to start with, and for people and provinces to come together as a nation to achieve success.
It will incorporate HMCS SACKVILLE, Canada's Naval Memorial, owned and operated by the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust. HMCS SACKVILLE is the last of the corvettes that served in the wartime fleet, and a fitting symbol of the sacrifice of the thousands of Canadians who gave of themselves or their lives in service to Canada.