Toronto (March 27, 2012) – The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) today welcomed the first ocean vessel of the 2012 shipping season to the Port of Toronto. The arrival of the MV Barnacle was marked by the Beaver Hat Ceremony a port tradition that dates back to 1861.
The annual ceremony saw Captain Yuriy Bodrov ‘crowned’ with a nearly 200-year-old silk and beaver pelt top hat by Harbour Master Angus Armstrong. The captain also received a commemorative briefcase and a $100 cheque.
“This age-old tradition officially marks the opening of the spring shipping season for the Port of Toronto,” said Harbour Master Angus Armstrong, “We had a strong year in 2011 and look forward to welcoming more ships into the port this year.”
The MV Barnacle, arrived from Nicaragua on March 24. The 19,814 metric tonne vessel, operated by Montreal’s Canfornav Inc., is carrying sugar for the Redpath Sugar Refinery and will stay in port until March 28.
The antique top hat used in the Beaver Hat Ceremony originally belonged to Captain John Hooper Meade, who immigrated to Canada from England in 1828. Captain Meade donated the hat made by Christy’s Hats of London to mark the occasion in 1861. His grandson, Captain John Allen, was Toronto’s Harbour Master from 1925-30.
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Media contact: Suzanna Birchwood, 416-863-2036/416-317-6405 (mobile)