PortsToronto celebrates 158th annual Beaver Hat Ceremony with the arrival of the first ship of the season

Toronto (April 10, 2019) – Yesterday, PortsToronto’s Harbour Master Emeritus Angus Armstrong “crowned” Captain Pero Mikelic at the 158th annual Beaver Hat Ceremony with the antique silk and beaver top hat first presented in the spring of 1861.

The Port of Toronto’s first Harbour Master, Hugh Richardson, initiated the idea to entice ships to bring building materials into the harbour as early as possible each year, allowing Toronto—then a burgeoning city—to start its building season.
Originally begun as a celebration of the first ship to enter the 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 Cape, which arrived in the Port of Toronto from Guatemala with 18,920 metric tonnes of sugar for the Redpath Refinery. The annual ceremony also celebrates the commencement of the 2019 shipping season.
“The Beaver Hat Ceremony is a longstanding tradition at the Port of Toronto and marks the annual opening of a vital marine gateway that provides Canadian and international businesses with a convenient, sustainable, and cost-effective way to bring goods into the heart of the city,” said Geoffrey Wilson, President and CEO, PortsToronto. “From the cement and steel used to build and enhance infrastructure across the Greater Toronto Area to the sugar used to support the food and beverage industry, the goods delivered through the Port of Toronto are part of an important supply chain that services many of the city’s key sectors.”
The Port of Toronto recorded another strong year in 2018, with approximately 2.2 million metric tonnes of cargo passing through the port. In addition, the Cruise Ship Terminal saw a record 17 passenger ships enter port carrying approximately 6,000 passengers. The port is expecting this number to more than double this year with 35 cruise ships coming to Toronto in the summer and fall of 2019.

PortsToronto Harbour Master Emeritus Angus Armstrong “crowns” Captain Pero Mikelic of the MV Cape with a 200-year old silk and beaver top hat. Originally intended to entice ships to reach the port as early as possible, the tradition of the Beaver Hat Ceremony has marked the arrival of the first ocean-going vessel of the shipping season to the Port of Toronto for the past 158 years.
The MV Cape, docked at Toronto’s Redpath Sugar Refinery, won the race to become the first ocean-going vessel or “saltie” to arrive in the Port of Toronto this year. Carrying 18,920 metric tonnes of raw sugar from Guatemala, the MV Cape travelled through the St. Lawrence Seaway, which connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean.
To find out more about the history behind the Beaver Hat ceremony please click here.
About the Port of Toronto (https://www.portstoronto.com/port-of-toronto.aspx)
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 (https://www.portstoronto.com)
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 2.8 million passengers in 2018; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada's largest freshwater marinas; and, Marine Terminal 52, which provides 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 $11 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 60 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 Contacts: 
Sarah Sutton
Manager, Communications and Government Relations
Cell: (647) 298-0544
E-mail: ssutton@portstoronto.com
Redpath Sugar
Nancy Gavin
Manager, Brand Development
E-mail: Nancy.Gavin@asr-group.com