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Thread: Montreal's silver cane

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    Default Montreal's silver cane

    Hello
    Does anyone know if the Captain of the first ship into Montreal in the New Year? is still awarded a silver cane ?
    I spent 22 yrs with the Canadian Pacific, seeing it through its growth in the 70's to its demise in the 80's and what a company it was.I sailed with some tremendous guys from virtually every British Company and learnt so much from them.
    Back to my original question though. In C.P. there was huge rivalry between Captains to gain the coveted silver cane and if they were awarded a certain number of silver canes they then got awarded a gold cane.
    One stood head and shoulders above the rest, a Scotsman whoose knickname was Bootsie (plus surname). The reason for his knickname being that his only attire was khaki trousers and a singlet plus size 10 boots, irrespective of the season and who cycled everywhere, even cycling from Scotland to Liverpool to join his Beaver boat.
    He once got his pilot to call the pilot of the ship ahead of them (a Russian) to slow down so as his ship could overtake the Russian and so be first into Montreal.
    Bootsie only had two speeds, stop and full ahead and although I only met him once on a ship visit he left a lasting impression on me.
    He was a legend in his own lifetime and one day I will put down here a couple of the more famous stories about him, in particular his love of ornithology and his cycling trips in Canada as well as his time on the white Empress.
    rgds
    Capt. John Arton (ret'd)

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    I sailed with Captain Downing on the `Manchester Merchant` in 1961, He had won the Cane. some time in the 50s or early 60s.

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    Guess I just missed you on the Merchant Capt.
    Was on her 59-60
    Den.

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    Seem to remember the Warkworth was one of the stars of that run, but don't know who the skipper was. Albi

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    Default Montreals Silver Cane.

    John, did you ever sail with a Chief Officer in CPR by the name of Williams.I sailed with him a number of times but he was always Chief Officer.I know from a certain source that he was in possession of a Silver Cane,did he win in and on what ship I dont know.
    Regards.Jim.B.

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    Jim
    Sailed with a couple of Chief Officers in C.P. named Williams, but they all joined from other Companies in the early 70's by which timethe Beaver boats had been replaced by the new container ships. Cannot think how a Chief Officer came into possession of a cane unless he had been a naughty boy as captain and got demoted, but that does not ring a bell with me.
    The only Williams I knew for surewho had a cane was Bill Williams, who was senior master on the Empress boats but who had been captain on the black beavers.

    rgds
    John

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    Default Montreal silver cane.

    John,the Chief Officer named Williams,I am talking about the 50's early 60's so maybe he is the same man if you are talking of the 70's.I never got that close to a Chief Officer to know his first name!!!!
    Regards,
    Jim.B.

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    In 1958, I served as a cabin boy on the MV Dundee, of the Dundee Perth & London shipping company, the Captian George Wood (one of the kindest men I have ever met) received a silver topped cane from the Mayor of Detroit for being the Captain of the first salt water vessel to arrive that year, we travelled the Lakes until December that year, best 10 months of my sea going career.

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    Hi John,
    I sailed with "Bootsie" the year we got the Golden Cane on the Beaverpine back in the late sixties, I was second engineer.
    The cane is awarded to the Captain of the first vessel to reach Quebec after the ice starts to melt. We were bound for Montreal and there was a polish ship that had made it to Quebec also just before we arrived and were laying over for a couple of days. CP decided to make our ships destination Quebec and unload all the cargo there and transport it by train to Montreal and the polish ship was still waiting for the ice to thin out so she could proceed to Montreal. So they awardeded the golden cane to Bootsie as being the first ship in, which was a bit of a steal really.
    The TV people came down to the ship and were all over, Bootsie and the mate and C/E went to a big reception at the Chateau-Frontinac, and Bootsie gave his acceptance speech in french, which drove the people wild, it was all over the papers the next day.
    I sailed with Bootsie on quite a few trips and know many stories about him , what a piece of work he was.
    I have a photo of him with the cane but unforunately don't know how to scan and upload it on the web site
    Will Talk Later
    Geoff Bray

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    Default Montreal's Silver Cane

    Geoff
    Thanks the above. I only met Bootsie once when I was ship visiting on the Pine, I was cadet on the Fir at the time.
    He certainly left a big impression on me and I'm not talking about the size of his boots.
    The stories I was told about him involved him getting arrested in Toronto for vagrancy whilst on one of his field trips to study wildlife, an incident with a stuffed owl and also his sojourn on the Empress. Am I right in thinking he also took the England back home after her collision in Quebec and managed to take the temp. repairs that had been done in Quebec off 2 times before they even cleared the Gulf of St. Lawrence due to his love of high speed?
    rgds
    Capt. John Arton (ret'd)

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