First ‘Saltie’ of the Year Sails into Port of Toronto

Toronto (March 26, 2013) – The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) officially welcomed the MV Isadora to the city’s shores today at the 152nd Beaver Hat Ceremony. The annual ceremony celebrates the arrival of the port’s first ocean vessel (known as a ‘saltie’) of the year. 

Saltie  Saltie 2
Ship Captain Stanislaw Sobol was ‘crowned’ with a nearly 200-year-old silk and beaver pelt top hat by Harbour Master Angus Armstrong at the ceremony. The Captain also received a commemorative briefcase and $100.
“The Beaver Hat Ceremony is an age old port tradition that dates back to 1861 and is a great way for us to mark the opening of the Seaway,” said Harbour Master Angus Armstrong. “We’re looking forward to a year of improved performance and increased shipping traffic at the Port of Toronto.”
The MV Isadora, arrived from at 6:05 am on March 25 carrying 21,700 metric tonnes of raw sugar from Veracruz, Mexico for the Redpath Sugar refinery. The trip from Mexico took approximately 15 days. The vessel is docked at Redpath and will remain in port until March 28.
Built in 1999, the 349,480-deadweight vessel is owned by Polsteam and is on a time charter for New-York-based CSC Sugar. The vessel bears a Cypriot flag and its Canadian agent is Navitrans Shipping Agencies.
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 to mark the arrival of the first saltie in 1861. Meade’s grandson, Captain John Allen, was Toronto’s Harbour Master from 1925 to 1930. The port tradition originally allowed for the Captain to keep the hat for 24 hours. This was changed after several humorous mishaps took place with the historic hat. The hat is now stored in the TPA archives and brought out once a year for the ceremony.
About the Toronto Port Authority (
The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, the Port of Toronto (Terminals 51 and 52), and Toronto's Outer Harbour Marina. In addition to moving more than two million passengers through the airport in 2012, the Port Authority provides transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port, and owns and operates Toronto’s largest freshwater marina. The Toronto Port Authority was incorporated on June 8, 1999 as a government business under the Canada Marine Act as the successor to the Toronto Harbour Commissioners.
– 30 –
Media Contact:
Pamela McDonald, Director, Communications and Public Affairs
(416) 863-2028 or (647) 405-8185 (mobile),