The lead ship of her class, Mackenzie was built by Canadian Vickers Limited in Montreal, and commissioned on 6 October 1962. She arrived in Halifax mid October, and spent the first five months of her service life operating from that port perhaps as a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis. On 2 March 1963 she left for Esquimalt and never returned to Halifax.
For the next 23 years she roamed the Pacific, as both a unit of the Second Canadian Destroyer Squadron and as part of Training Group Pacific. During the first three weeks of March 1964 she took part in the Commonwealth exercise JET 64 in the Indian Ocean. On 22 February 1965 she left Esquimalt with Saskatchewan for a three month cruise to the Far East.
On 4 May 1970 Mackenzie, along with Provider and Yukon, headed across the Pacific once more. Exercises were carried out with units of the Australian, New Zealand, Japanese and American Navies (with appropriate port visits) before the ships headed home.
A career highlight occurred on 30 June 1973 when Mackenzie’s crew boarded and seized the MV Marysville, resulting in a million dollar drug bust.
On 25 May 1986 she began her DELEX refit, returning to service on 16 January, 1987. On 28 April 1988 Mackenzie, accompanied by Yukon and four other Canadian ships, departed for a Pacific Rim tour, during which they exercised with units of the Japanese, Korean and American Navies. After stopping in Hawaii on 21 June, the ships headed for home.
Between 24 April and 30 June 1988 she, along with other Canadian units, participated in SAMPLOY ’89, the exercises being carried out between port visits in the United States, Mexico, Ecuador, and Costa Rica.
After 30 years of service – during which she visited 96 foreign ports and sailed 845,640 nautical miles – she was decommissioned on 3 August 1993.
In early March 1995 it was announced that Mackenzie would be sold to the Artificial Reef Society of BC. The society made the ship environmentally safe, then scuttled her near Rum Island off Sidney, BC, on 16 September 1995.
Just before her sinking she was used as a set for the popular X-Files TV series. Painted in US Navy colours, she was the centrepiece of an episode shown nationally on 10 March 1996.
a Mackenzie 3D Dive