PortsToronto Celebrates the Arrival of the First Ship of the Season with the 156th Annual Beaver Hat Ceremony

The arrival of the MV Brant this week marked the beginning of the 2017 navigation season at the Port of Toronto. As the first ocean-going ship into the Port, the MV Brant and its crew took part in the 156th annual Beaver Hat Ceremony.The Beaver Hat Ceremony has a rich history with the Port of Toronto. Every year since 1861, PortsToronto’s Harbour Master has “crowned” the captain of the first ship into the Port with a century-old silk and beaver top hat.

The antique top hat used in the Beaver Hat Ceremony originally belonged to Captain John Hooper Meade. He immigrated to Canada from England in 1828 and donated the hat made by Christy’s Hats of London to mark the arrival of the first saltie in 1861.

As part of the tradition, the captain is also presented with a brand new suitcase and cheque for $100 to spend during his stay in Toronto. This year, the MV Brant won the race to be the first ship to Port, bringing more than 19,692 metric tonnes of sugar from Nicaragua’s Corinto to Redpath Sugar, a company that has been crafting quality food products in Canada for more than 160 years.

Since 1793, the Port of Toronto has served as Toronto’s gateway to the St. Lawrence Seaway and to marine ports around the world. From the sugar used to sweeten coffee to the salt used on the roads to keep drivers safe during the winter months to the concrete used to support Toronto's booming construction industry, the goods delivered through Toronto's Port have a significant impact on the people, projects, and industries of Toronto.

Learn more about how the Port of Toronto serves as a gateway to the world, for both tourism and trade, here.