Media Advisory and Photo Opportunity: Port of Toronto welcomes the first "saltie" of 2009

    MV Wigeon to be honoured in beaver hat ceremony on Friday, May 1

    TORONTO, April 30 /CNW/ - The Toronto Port Authority is pleased to
announce the arrival of this year's first ocean-going vessel into port via the
St. Lawrence Seaway this week.
    It's another sure sign that Spring is here, and the TPA will mark the
occasion by honouring Captain Yang Sibing of the MV Wigeon with a beaver hat
in a traditional ceremony that dates back 148 years. The Wigeon, a 22,790
metric tonne vessel operated by Montreal's Canfornav Inc., is bringing a cargo
of sugar to the Redpath Sugar facility from Colombia.
    The storied hat used in the ceremony originally belonged to Captain John
Hooper Meade, who immigrated to Canada from England in 1828. Capt. Meade
became a successful Toronto merchant and landowner with holdings on Centre
Island as well as a hotel and two steamer vessels. Made by Christies Hats of
London from silk and beaver pelt, Capt. Meade donated the hat to mark the
occasion in 1861. His grandson, Captain John Allen, was Toronto's Harbour
Master from 1925-30.
    The ship's captain will be "crowned" with the antique hat by TPA Harbour
Master Angus Armstrong in a photo opportunity. Earlier in its history, the hat
could be worn by the captain of the first spring "saltie" in port for 24
hours, but this tradition was discontinued after several mishaps in which the
custodians of the hat felt the need to celebrate by overindulging in downtown
    The captain will also receive the traditional $100 cheque (the amount has
not changed in approximately 80 years) and a commemorative briefcase.

    Photographers, videotape camera operators and journalists are invited to
record the ceremony:

                             Friday, May 1, 2009
                                   10 a.m.
      Redpath Sugar, 95 Queen's Quay East, at the foot of Jarvis Street
         (Enter through east-side security checkpoint with your photo

For further information:

For further information: Deputy Harbour Master Michael Riehl, (416)

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