The Port of Montreal welcomed the first ocean-going vessel of 2017 Sunday and will present the 178th annual gold-headed cane to the captain and crew of the tanker Chem Sirius.
Captain Danel Ju was greeted by Sylvie Vachon, executive director of the Port of Montreal, onboard the ship Sunday morning.
The ceremony dates to 1840 and at first involved the presentation of a top hat. The hat was replaced by a gold-headed cane around 1880 "to reflect period tastes," the port's website says.
While the port now operates year round, the ceremony harks back to a time when ice on the St. Lawrence River closed Montreal off to the rest of the world during the winter.
The trophy features a 14-karat gold head bearing the Canadian coat-of-arms and an inscription that reads: "Presented by the Port of Montreal to (captain's name), Master of the (ship's name), the first ocean-going vessel in the port in (year)."
Chem Sirius is registered in Liberia and left Antwerp in Belgium on Dec. 24.
The ship arrived in the Port of Montreal at 3:16 a.m. on New Year's Day.