You could say the Algoma Niagara traveled a long way to receive special recognition on the Welland Canal in Ontario.
The vessel was built at shipyard in China and embarked on a two-month voyage last year to Canada, via the Panama Canal. The ship sailed its maiden voyage on the St. Lawrence Seaway last November.
On Thursday, the Algoma Niagara's captain, Chesley Thorne, received the "top hat," honoring the first vessel through the canal at the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre. The ceremony marks the start of the navigation season and is another sign of spring for the region.
This is 60th season for the Seaway. The "marine highway" includes the 27-mile long Welland Canal, connecting Lake Erie and Lake Ontario while bypassing Niagara Falls.
Last year, the canal's opening date was March 20, tying a record for the earliest opening.