Ports of Montreal and Quebec award traditional gold-headed canes

The Montreal Port Authority officially inaugurated the start of a new year of activity by presenting the Gold-Headed Cane to Captain Volodymyr Yurchenko, Master of the bulk carrier Virginiaborg, the first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Montreal without a stopover in 2019.

The Virginiaborg left the Port of Porsgrunn, Norway, on December 20, and crossed the downstream limits of the Port on January 2, at 3:50 a.m.

At the Port of Quebec the Gold-Headed Cane will be awarded to Captain Nikolaos Steiakakis, commander of the ship Cap Québec, the first ocean-going vessel from a foreign port to dock at the Port of Quebec docks in the New Year. The Cap Québec, a tanker ship that sailed directly from de Galveston, Texas, arrived at 7:30 a.m. on January 2nd.

The tradition of handing out gold headed canes to the captains of the first ships arriving at ports along the St. Lawrence river started in the days when the river froze over in the winter. The first ships – sail ships in those days – did not make it up the river until the spring thaw. Nowadays the St. Lawrence is kept open year round by Coast Guard icebreakers.

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