Mike Vencel served in the Canadian Navy during the Cold War era. He joined up in the 1950s, fresh out of high school in southern Ontario, with the goal of pursuing a trade. Mike set his sights on becoming an electrician’s mate, and he served in this capacity on several ships, notably the HMCS Assiniboine and the HMCS Crescent. During his time in the service, Mike saw Canada and much of the world, seeing the extremes of the Arctic and the heat of the tropics. He also saw the tensions of the Cold War ignite in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and he saw the last vestiges of royalty when Queen Elizabeth visited Canada on the Brittania for the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Mike recalls his time in the navy with fondness – even the episode on the life rafts which he recounts here.
Mike visited us at Crestwood in April 2018, along with Ron Kirk and Andy Barber, whose stories can also be found in this project. Scott Masters did a follow up visit with them in August 2018, interviewing them at the Halton Naval Veterans Club in Burlington.
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