HMCS Cape Breton was launched in 1944 at the Burrard Dry-dock facility in North Vancouver, British Columbia as the HMS Flamborough Head. Flamborough Head was one of a series of ships intended to operate with the British Pacific Fleet in the war against Japan and for the re-colonization of Asian territories. While they were under construction, the Royal Navy was experiencing a severe manpower shortage. To this end, Sir Winston Churchill attempted to get Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King to provide Canadian crews. This offer was refused by the wartime Canadian leader for political reasons. Ultimately the war ended before the whole class was completed and several completed as merchant ships. HMS Flamborough Head commissioned into service of the Royal Navy in North Vancouver in 1945. It sailed from Vancouver and remained in active service with that service until 1952 when purchased by the Royal Canadian Navy. The ship commissioned as HMCS Cape Breton at Halifax on January 31, 1953.
Ships of Canada's Naval Forces 1910-1981 by Macpherson and Burgess stated, "She served at Halifax until August 25, 1958 as a repair ship and training establishment for technical apprentices. Converted to escort maintenance ship at Esquimalt, she was commissioned there on November 16, 1959 for service on the West Coast. On February 10, 1964, Cape Breton was paid off into reserve, but since 1972 she has functioned as a towed mobile support facility and accommodation vessel at Esquimalt.
On October 20, 2001 at 12:40 PM, The Honorable Judith Reid, MLA, The Honorable Mike Hunter, MLA, His Worship Mayor Gary Korpan and John Ruttan, Chairman of the Nanaimo Port Authority, simultaneously pushed the two detonation buttons and the Cape Breton cutting charges were exploded. Moments later a fantastic pyrotechnics show was enjoyed by several thousand boaters and ferry patrons. It was a sad, but beautiful sight, to see this mammoth World War ll Naval Vessel sink in 3 minutes and 37 seconds. The Cape Breton is the world's second largest artificial reef after the Speigel Grove in Florida! This unique card provides detailed depiction of the HMCS Cape Breton Wreck. Each waterproof card is printed on both sides, made of durable PVC plastic and is designed to be taken on the dive. They are also 3-hole punched to fit in standard log books.