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 Oleksandr Popov, master of the tanker Atlantic Spirit, the first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Montreal without a stopover in 2021.
The Atlantic Spirit left the Port of Flushing in the Netherlands on December 18, 2020 and crossed the Port of Montreal’s limits on January 1 at 2:59 p.m.
At the Port of Quebec the Gold-Headed Cane was awarded to Captain Ivan Pauk of the vessel MIRELLA S, the first ocean-going vessel from a foreign port to dock at the Port of Quebec docks in the New Year. The ship arrived at 8:10 a.m. on January 1 from Perth Amboy in New Jersey to deliver a cargo of methanol.
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.