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Honouring tradition in Montreal

Wagenborg Shipping’s Virginiaborg is the first vessel to ring in the new year in Montreal.

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Honouring tradition in Montreal

For the last 180 years the Port of Montreal has awarded a Gold-Headed Cane trophy to the first vessel to reach the port in the new year on a direct service (without what the port calls a “stopover” at another port).


The Gold-Headed Cane tradition dates back to 1840, and for over a hundred and twenty years marked the arrival of the first vessel in spring, when the ice had left the St Lawrence river and the port became accessible to international shipping again. Since 1964 the port of Montreal has been open to navigation all 365 days of the year, but the Gold-Headed Cane ceremony has endured.


The Virginiaborg became the first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Montreal without a stopover in 2019, by crossing the downstream limits of the Port at Sorel on January 2, at 3:50 a.m. Under the command of Captain Volodymyr Yurchenko, the bulk carrier is operated by Wagenborg Shipping and represented in Montreal by the Lower St-Lawrence Ocean Agencies Ltd.


The Virginiaborg left the Port of Porsgrunn, Norway, on December 20 and docked in Montreal at Berth 42, operated by Logistec. Captain Yurchenko will receive the 180th Gold-Headed Cane at a ceremony on 3 January.


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