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Second Through the Passage - First West to East

Between 1940 - 1942 the Canadian RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) vessel St. Roch sailed through the Northwest Passage (Map). It left Vancouver in June 1940, and after spending two winters frozen in the ice, finally docked at Halifax on October 11, 1942. It was the second ship to navigate the passage, and the first to go from west to east.

In 1944, St. Roch returned to Vancouver by way of a more northerly Northwest Passage route - cutting the time down to just 86 days.

These epic voyages demonstrated Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic during the difficult years of World War II, and extended Canadian control over its vast northern territories.

The ship was built as a supply ship to service isolated, far-flung Arctic RCMP detachments. When frozen in for the winter, St. Roch itself became a floating detachment, with its constables mounting dog sled patrols from the ship.

After it was retired from service, the ship went from Vancouver to Halifax by way of the Panama Canal - making it the first ship to circumnavigate North America. It returned to Vancouver for preservation as a museum ship in 1954 and was eventually restored to its original 1944 appearance.

Today, the St. Roch is a Canadian National Historic Site, and is the centerpiece of the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

Click pictures for more information and credits.
Arctic Library:
Arctic, Boats/Ships/Submarines, Sled Dogs
St. Roch II, Canadian Rangers
Sverdrup Claims Canadian Islands
Northwest Passage Map
Arctic Maps & Weather Reports
News Story: St. Roch II Expedition
Links: Northwest Passage, Arctic, Boats & Ships

Double-click any unlinked word DICTIONARY: Just "double-click" any unlinked word on this page for the definition from Merriam-Webster's Student Electronic Dictionary at Word Central.
Arctic Library ARCTIC LIBRARY & GLOSSARY: Check this section for an index of the rest of the things you really need to know about the Arctic.
All sorts of Arctic Maps ARCTIC MAPS & WEATHER REPORTS: Maps of the Northwest Passage, explorers' routes, iceberg sources, Nunavut, the Arctic by treeline, temperature...
Links to related sites. ARCTIC LINKS: Even more information! Links to sites related to the Arctic and "Iceberg: the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots".
A Guide to Arctic Sunrise and Sunset GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?

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