Bonaventure the last Canadian Aircraft Carrier

HMCS Bonaventure

The aircraft carrier “HMCS Bonaventure” from 1957 to 1970 was the third and the last aircraft carrier to serve Canada. It was initially laid down for England as “HMS Powerful “as part of the second batch of the Colossus class ships ordered during the Second World War. Construction on the vessel was suspended in May 1946 following the end of the Second World War, and the hull was laid up incomplete at a Belfast Northern Ireland shipyard.

Replacing the aged HMCS Magnificent with the newer Bonaventure

In 1952, the Royal Canadian Navy was looking to replace their existing aircraft carrier HMCS Magnificent 1944 – 1948

On 23 April, the Canadian government authorized the expenditure of $21 million to acquire England’s  aircraft Carrier called the “Powerful”.   “but remember it’s still just only a shell.”

During that time Canada’s Royal Canadian Navy was in the market for an aircraft carrier of our own and had the “Powerful”  offered to them by the British. They had also been offered a Hermes-class aircraft carrier by the United Kingdom but found it too costly. Two Essex-class aircraft carriers on loan from the United States Navy were also were considered too costly.

 The choice was made due to the cost of the Powerful (Bonaventure) as well as “financial support for our Commonwealth partner, United Kingdom”.

Agreement on the purchase of Powerful (Majestic class carrier) was reached on 29 November 1952s but was backdated to 12 July. Work on the shell of the “Powerful” ( Bonaventure) resumed.  This time to modernize the design such as the angled flight deck and steam catapults. The design changes cost a further $10 million. Other changes were also incorporated such as American radar and armament. Construction was  finally completed on 17 January 1957, (5 years later) and the vessel was finally commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy at Belfast and renamed the Bonaventure

NOTE … Bonaventure was named after Bonaventure Island, a bird sanctuary in the Gulf of St. Lawrence 

In March 1957, the aircraft carrier began sea trials in the English Channel.  After completion of the seaworthiness, the Bonaventure sailed to her home port Halifax, Nova Scotia, on June 26, 1957.

1964 Mid-life refit and ultimate fate.

In 1964, 7 years after purchasing the HMCS Bonaventure from the English government, the Canadian Navy called for a mid-life refit of Bonaventure. While the Canadian Naval Board already planned on the carrier’s upcoming refit in order to extend the aircraft carrier’s service.

They didn’t expect the numbers, the cost that was associated with the refit to rise out of control.

So beginning in April 1966, the carrier began a refit at Davie Shipbuilding in Lauzon Quebec. The initial estimate for the refit was $8 million. However, during the refit, numerous issues with the ship were found. Some say these problems plagued the carrier from its initial construction. The added overhaul and changes led to cost overruns and delays. In the end, the refit took 18 months and cost $17 million.  Both are behind schedule and well over budget. The refit was completed in August 1967

This aircraft carrier is only 10 years old. The life expectancy of an aircraft carrier is 15-40 years

1970, 3 years after spending 17 million on a refitting the Bonnie, our Canadian military decided to cut spending in the armed forces and the Bonaventure was on their hit list.  Bonaventure was decommissioned at Halifax on 3 July 1970, sold for disposal and bought by Tung Chen S Steel Company of Taiwan for scrap and broken up in 1971.

Now threw all fairness, I would think the operation cost on an aircraft carrier would be huge. Canada has not owned one since and as of posting has no intention of building one.



In 1952 Canadian Liberal government purchased the HMCS Bonaventure.

June 1957 Canadian Conservative Government undertook the delivery of this obsolete

aircraft carrier.

1966 Canadian Liberal government decided to refit the “Bonnie” at the tone of $17 million dollars and 18 months to complete.

1970 Liberal Government scraped the last remaining Canadian Aircraft Carrier Called the “Bonnie”

∞ ∞ (1970, 3 1/2 years after spending 17 million on a refit and only 13 years of total service, SCRAPED) ∞ ∞

This research comes from Wikipedia with a slight twist.

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