PHOTO RELEASE: PortsToronto celebrates 157th annual Beaver Hat Ceremony with the arrival of the first ship of the season


Toronto (April 6, 2018)
– Earlier today PortsToronto’s Harbour Master Emeritus Angus Armstrong “crowned” Captain Mykhaylo Omelchuk at the 157th annual Beaver Hat Ceremony with the antique silk and beaver top hat first presented in the spring of 1861.
Originally begun as a celebration of the first ship to enter harbour each year, the annual tradition now celebrates the arrival of the first ocean-going ship of the season, also known as a “saltie.” This year the first ship was the MV Brant, which arrived in port from Brazil with a 19,230 metric tonnes of sugar for the Redpath Refinery. The annual ceremony also celebrates the commencement of the 2018 shipping season.
“The Beaver Hat ceremony represents the yearly opening of a vital gateway that provides Canadian and international businesses with a convenient, sustainable and cost-effective way to bring people and goods into the heart of the city,” said Geoffrey Wilson, President and CEO, PortsToronto. “From sugar and salt for our food industry and roads, to the aggregate materials used to build our homes, offices and roadways, the goods delivered through the Port of Toronto have a significant impact on the city’s people, projects and industries.”
This year’s ceremony also kicks off celebrations of the 225th anniversary of shipping activity through the Port of Toronto. While the first commercial shipment arrived at the Fort at Toronto in 1749 the Port was officially established by the government in 1793 and serves as Toronto’s gateway to the St. Lawrence Seaway and to marine ports around the world.
The Port of Toronto recorded the best year in more than a decade with approximately 2.2 million metric tonnes of cargo passing through the port. In addition, the Cruise Ship Terminal saw a record 16 passenger ships enter port carrying more than 5,600 passengers, a more than 120 per cent increase in cruise ship traffic since 2016.
To find out more about the history behind the Beaver Hat ceremony please click here.
About the Port of Toronto (
The Port of Toronto, one of Canada's largest major inland ports, is situated on the northwest shore of Lake Ontario. For over 100 years, the Port of Toronto has been connecting Toronto to the world. Located minutes from Toronto’s downtown core, the Port provides a seamless network of cost-effective intermodal links to road, rail and air transportation, serving as a unique and crucial piece of economic infrastructure. In an average year, more than two million tonnes of cargo pass through Toronto’s Port, taking tens of thousands of trucks off Ontario’s congested highways. In addition to moving cargo, the Port also welcomes cruise ships and passengers from around the globe through the Cruise Ship Terminal. The Port of Toronto continues to be a vital connection to the world, not only boosting tourism and trade, but also helping to lower Toronto’s carbon footprint.
About PortsToronto (
For more than 100 years PortsToronto has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. PortsToronto owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which welcomed more than 2.8 million passengers in 2017; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada's largest freshwater marinas; and, Terminals 51 and 52, which provide transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port of Toronto. PortsToronto is committed to fostering strong, healthy and sustainable communities and has invested more than $9 million since 2009 in charitable initiatives and environmental programs that benefit communities along Toronto's waterfront and beyond. PortsToronto operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a nine-member board with representation from all three levels of government.
About Redpath Sugar
Redpath Sugar Ltd, who markets and sells sugar products in Canada under the Redpath brand, is a part of ASR Group, the world’s largest refiner of cane sugar. Redpath Sugar has been headquartered in and operating on the waterfront in Toronto, Ontario for more than 50 years where it crafts quality sugar products for consumers, food service outlets and food manufacturers throughout Canada. The company also operates a dry blending and packaging plant in Belleville, Ontario. This location co-manufactures major retail brands and private label products, such as sweetened iced tea, hot chocolate, and other sugar containing products for Canadian and export markets. Redpath is proud to provide more than 275 jobs in Canada.
Media Contact:
Jen Brailsford, Communications Officer
Tel: (416) 863-2016
Cell: (647) 298-0585