A tradition since 1835

The gold-headed cane is a tradition that dates back to 1835. It marks the arrival of the first ship of the year to the Port of Québec from overseas. The original object coveted by ship’s captains wasn’t a cane at all, but rather a goldplated snuffbox, snuff being very popular in those days.

We owe the tradition to John Munn, a Québec City shipbuilder. In 1833, Munn was the first person to cross the ocean to England on a steamboat built in Québec City. When he arrived, the authorities presented him with a gold snuffbox, which gave him the idea of doing the same thing back home. Eager to see an earlier start to the navigating season, Québec City’s shopkeepers made the tradition their own. In the second half of the 19th century, the Québec Port Authority took over from the shopkeepers to keep the custom alive. Before the advent of a winter sailing season in 1959, the gold-headed cane was awarded only in the spring, once winter conditions had subsided. Now that there’s a winter sailing season, the first ship of the year to dock at the Port of Québec raises anchor in early January.

Today, the Québec Port Authority is proud to carry on one of the finest traditions in the city’s maritime and commercial history. As a coveted prize, the gold-headed cane remains a symbol of cooperation between the Port’s clients and users, administration, and service providers.

Here are the latest recipients of the Gold-Headed Cane:

Ship Star Lydia
Arrival January 2nd, 2023
Vessel's flag Malta
Captain Joselito S. Claridad
Ship Federal Hunter
Arrival January 3rd, 2022
Vessel's flag Russia
Captain Kandangama Deniyegedara
Ship Mirella S.
Arrival January 1st, 2021
Vessel's flag Barbados
Captain Ivan Pauk
Ship Cap theodora
Arrival January 2nd, 2020
Vessel's flag Greek
Captain Theofanis A. Spoutis

Winning ship history

DATE Ship Vessel's flag Captain
January 2nd 2023 Star Lydia Malta Joselito S. Claridad
January 3rd 2022 Federal Hunter Russia Kandangama Deniyegedara
January 1st 2021 Mirella S. Barbados Ivan Pauk
January 2nd 2020 Cap Theodora Greek Theofanis A. Spoutis
January 2nd 2019 M/T Cap Quebec Greek Nikolaos Steiakakis
January 2nd 2018 Cap Romuald Greek Georgios N. Chouliaris
January 3rd 2017 USMA Marshall Islands Rolands Doniks
January 1st 2016 Apollon Bahamas Sergey Teplov
January 1st 2015 ISTRA Croatia Damir Tansek
January 2nd 2014 Bristish Cormorant Isle of man Mohammad Iqbal Husain Kapadi
January 2nd 2013 Pomer Croatia Markotić Tomislav
January 4th 2012 Federal Rideau Hong Kong Sunil Kumar Vij
January 2nd 2011 MCT Matterhorn Swiss Igors Krutijs
January 5th 2010 MCT Matterhorn Swiss Davor Oguic
January 5th 2009 Apostolos Liberian Andrei Iustinian
January 1st 2008 Silvretta Swedish Sergiv Ryabchenko
January 1st 2007 Cap Georges Greek Nikolaos Sarris
January 1st 2006 Minerva Anna Maltese Adonios Adipas
January 3rd 2005 Federal Kushiro Panamanian Mun-Sig Shin
January 3rd 2004 Saamis Adventurer Panamanian Cedomir Bacic
January 2nd 2003 Cap Laurent Greek Panagiotis Vandoros
January 2nd 2002 Jamar Panamanian Arthur M. Garcia
January 8th 2001 Cap Romuald Greek Georgios Kodonakis
January 4th 2000 Cap Jean Greek Topalidis Damianos
January 6th 1999 Bow Hunter Norwegian Monrad Solli
January 3rd 1998 Eirini L. Greek Vasilios Papazis
January 3rd 1997 Nandu Liberian Rohit Soti
January 4th 1996 Eirini L. Greek Georgios Kodonakis
January 2nd 1995 Chanda Liberian Rohit Soti
January 1st 1994 Tromso Fedelity Liberian Sergey Dolgish
January 1st 1993 Lark Lake Liberian Wang Yude
January 2nd 1992 Marshall Zakharov Russian Valery Serashov
January 3rd 1991 Kapitan Putilin Soviet Anatoly Tsay
January 1st 1990 Choctaw Hong Kong (Brit.) Umesh Rajnikant Thakore
January 1st 1989 M/V Falcon Norwegian Olé Kristian Knapp
January 1st 1988 Eleni M. Maltese Manuel Punsalang
January 1st 1987 Bonny Bahamien Veli-Matti Lehtonen
January 5th 1986 Nilam Czechoslovakian Guiliano Folco
January 1st 1985 Suzuran Japanese Rokuji Azuma
January 8th 1984 Mohawk Liberian Lodewyk H. De Beer
January 5th 1983 Golden Endeavor Venezuelan E. Thomas Hogan
January 3rd 1982 Grand Eagle Panamanian Chao Shu Chang
January 2nd 1981 Gaviota II Panamanian Görges Benno
January 5th 1980 Artic Star Liberian Alexander L. Cathro
January 7th 1979 Marielia Liberian Lothar Maxwitat
January 1st 1978 C.P. Discoverer British Alan R. Whyte
January 1st 1977 C.P. Trader British John Waling
January 4th 1976 Texaco Brighton Panamanian Fabio Sidari
January 2nd 1975 Golden Swan British Georgios N. Kypraios
January 2nd 1974 C.P. Voyageur British Alan Moat
January 4th 1973 Souvretta Liberian Dimitrios Xenos
January 3rd 1972 M.S. Moshill Norwegian Odd. E. Skoie
January 2nd 1971 C.P. Ambassador British B.O.H. Brown
January 2nd 1970 Beavermondo British Georg Rohrssen
January 2nd 1969 Beaverpine British P.J. Roberts
January 2nd 1968 Beaverpine British E.F. Aikman
January 18th 1967 M.S. Sydland Norwegian V. Freibergs
January 18th 1966 Caxton British C.A. Smith
January 9th 1965 Beaverpine British J.A.N. Bezant
January 8th 1964 Beaverpine British J.A.N. Bezant
January 1st 1963 M.V. Eskimo Canadian WM. H. Cowie
January 1st 1962 M.V. Fort Chambly Canadian WM. H. Cowie
January 4th 1961 M.S. Thora Dan Danish Svend Houmann
January 3rd 1960 S.S. Baskerville British R.J. Lungley
February 13th 1959 M.S. Helga Dan Danish H. Bjerregaard
March 31st 1958 S.S. Sarek Swedish B.G. Edlund
April 1st 1957 S.S. Mormacmail American Otto Heitman
April 7th 1956 S.S. Italmace Italian Fernando Guido CUM, CMG
April 8th 1955 S.S. Violando Liberian John Galanos
April 14th 1954 S.S. Isaac Carter British R.J. Lungley
April 7th 1953 S.S. Eileneau German S. Petersen
April 8th 1952 S.S. Surna Norwegian T. Magdahl
April 18th 1951 S.S. Seythia British J.V. Locke, R.D. RNR
April 17th 1950 S.S. Franconia British W.M. Steeart O.B.E.
May 6th 1949 S.S. Fort Highfield British Bert Ryan
April 23rd 1948 S.S. Graiglas British J.B. Fairgrieve
May 30th 1947 S.S. Ocean Vesper British W. Sinclair
April 11th 1946 S.S. Danfy British J.R. Copping
April 23rd 1945 S.S. Salamu British Sydney Lubetter
April 24th 1944 Margarita Chandris Greek Simon Triantafilakis
May 25th 1943 Brac Side British Pickering
May 13th 1942 S.S. Innerton British R. Pattrick
May 12th 1941 S.S. Lyras Greek Patteras
May 4th 1940 S.S. Yearby British G.M. Hudson
April 24th 1939 S.S. Duches of Atholl British W.B. Coyle R.D. RNR
April 23rd 1938 S.S. Kirnwood British F. Chilton F.R.G.S.
April 23rd 1937 Empress of Australia British W.G. Busk-Wood
April 24th 1936 Wearwood British D. Sutherland
April 23rd 1935 SS Atna Norwegian Z. Svendsen
April 28th 1934 Briarwood British G. Imrie
April 23rd 1933 Empress of Australia British E. Griffith
May 3rd 1930 Empress of Scotland British J. Turnbull