The Royal Canadian Navy was founded in 1910 by Sir Wilfrid Laurier as an alternative to paying Britain for the upkeep of the Royal Navy. At the time, this was seen as unpatriotic by imperialists and burdensome by anti-imperialists, because Canada had promised to let Britain take control of the RCN in times of war. His founding of the Navy is partly why Sir Wilfrid Laurier lost the election of 1911.
The officer in command of the Royal Canadian Navy had been styled the Director of the Naval Service from 1910 to 1928, Chief of the Naval Staff from 1928 to 1964, the Commander of Maritime Command from 1966 to 1997, and the Chief of the Maritime Staff from 1997 to 2011. Between 1964 and 1966 the naval service was controlled directly by the Chief of the Defence Staff. Since 2011, the commander has been called the Chief of the Naval Staff and Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy.
The chiefs of the Canadian Navy have been:
Adm. Sir Charles Edmund Kingsmill CMG, Kt., 1910–1921.
Rear Adm. Walter Hose CBE, 1921–1934.
Vice Adm. Percy Walker Nelles CB, 1934–1944.
Vice Adm. George Clarence Jones CB, 1944–1946.
Vice Adm. Howard Emerson Reid CB, 1946–1947.
Vice Adm. Harold Taylor Wood Grant CBE DSO CD, 1947–1951.
Vice Adm. Edmond Rollo Mainguy OBE CD, 1951–1956.
Vice Adm. Henry George DeWolf CBE DSO DSC CD, 1956–1960.
Vice Adm. Herbert Sharples Rayner DSC, 1960–1964.
Air Chief Marshal Frank Robert Miller CC CBE CD, Chief of Defence Staff, 1964–1966.
Rear Adm. William Moss Landymore OBE CD, January–July 1966.
Vice Adm. John Charles O’Brien OC CD, 1966–1970.
Vice Adm. Henry Allan Porter CMM CD, 1970–1971.
Rear Adm. Robert Walter Timbrell CMM DSC CD, 1971–1973.
Vice Adm. Douglas Seaman Boyle CMM, 1973–1977.
Vice Adm. Andrew Laurence Collier CMM, 1977–1979.
Vice Adm. John Allan CMM, 1979–1980.
Vice Adm. James Andrew Fulton CMM CD, 1980–1983.
Vice Adm. James Crilly Wood CMM, 1983–1987.
Vice Adm. Charles Morris Winton Thomas CMM, 1987–1989.
Vice Adm. Robert Earl Douglas George CMM CD, 1989–1991.
Adm. John Rogers Anderson CMM CD, 1991–1992.
Vice Adm. Peter William Cairns CMM, 1992–1994.
Vice Adm. Lawrence Edward Murray CM CMM CD, 1994–1995.
Vice Adm. Lynn Gordon Mason CMM CD, 1995–1997.
Vice Adm. Gary Leslie Garnett CMM CD, May–September 1997.
Vice Adm. Gregory Ralph Maddison CMM MSC CD, 1997–2001.
Vice Adm. Ronald Douglas Buck CMM CD, 2001–2004.
Vice Adm. Malcolm Bruce MacLean CMM CD, 2004–2006.
Vice Adm. Drew William Robertson CMM MSM CD, 2006–2009.
Vice Adm. Philip Dean McFadden CMM CD, 2009–2011.
Vice Adm. Paul Andrew Maddison CMM MSM CD, 2011–2013.
Vice Adm. Mark A.G. Norman CMM CD, 2013–now.