Welcome to the Wardroom - an integral part of CFB Halifax Officers’ Mess complex.
Prior to the stand-up of the Royal Canadian Navy, Her Majesty's Dockyard was occupied by the Royal Navy (RN). The social life for all these officers was to be found in the Wardroom of each respective ships (a naval custom that had existed for nearly 250 years). On 4 May 1910, the Canadian Navy had a humble birth with a single ship being stationed in Halifax. As the number of serving officers outnumbered the total requirement to man HMCS NIOBE, there was a requirement for a Wardroom ashore. The first Wardroom was located in the Victualling Yard or North Dockyard in the former Gate Warder's House, conveniently located across from the Royal Naval College of Canada (now D 14). This building soon became the social centre for all naval officers and remained so for nearly fifteen years).
The Admiral of the North American Station, who lived in a large Georgian home (built in 1815) on Gottingen Street known as Admiralty House, was a leader in society and was known for his social gatherings, dinners, soirees, and regattas during the summer season especially when the Fleet returned to Halifax from their winter berth in Bermuda. Admiralty House had been used as the naval hospital during the First World War and following repairs to the damage suffered during the Halifax Explosion (6 December, 1917), was reopened as the Halifax Massachusetts Health Centre Number One. In 1924, the RCN asked to have the house returned in order that the Wardroom could be relocated to this, a more spacious and elegant quarters. Thus, Admiralty House became the second Wardroom and remained so for the next three decades. Today, Admiralty House shelters the Maritime Command Museum.
During the 1930s, the naval cadets from the Royal Military College in Kingston slept in the sun porch of Admiralty during their summer training period. The Second World War was a particularly busy time for the Wardroom as 900 meals per day were served in its dining room and officers relaxed in the lounge and bar. In fact, some very junior officers were housed on the third floor. Admiralty House served in this capacity until the early 1950s.
In 1953, during Canada's largest peacetime expansion, a new Wardroom was built on Lorne Terrance near the MacDonald Bridge. For fifty years this building saw countless official functions as well as casual parties that raised the morale of all naval officers.
Co-located with the C&POs’ Mess and a new 160 suite accommodations tower, the Wardroom will also include a huge outdoor deck, an informal dining area, and a shared [with the C&POs] 12th floor roof top suite that oversees all of Halifax.
Inside there are many beautiful pieces of artwork that call the Wardroom their home. Wylie’s Trafalgar, depicting the greatest naval battle ever, will continue to be seen in the Ballroom. In addition to this magnificent mural, a new sixteen-foot painting was unveiled in May 2005 . This large mural depicts the famous Second World War naval engagement of HMCS Assiniboine attacking U210. Local and world-renowned artist Tom Forrestall has painted this splendid mural for us.
The Wardroom opened officially on 28 April 05 and is the rival of any club or military mess in the World.