Welcome to the Ports of Hamilton, Toronto and Oshawa. 

    We are sorry that we cannot greet you personally at this time because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we want to let you know that the Mission to Seafarers Southern Ontario continues to offer support and some limited services to you during this time of crisis. As the COVID-19 virus is present throughout the Greater Toronto area, our governments have asked all residents to stay at home as much as possible and to avoid public places and gatherings.

    At the Mission we are seeking to offer you as much service and support as possible while limiting our presence on or around your ship, and limiting our contact with you. We recognize that our contact with you poses a far greater risk to your well-being than your contact poses to us. Our primary concern is for your continued health and safety, and for your continued ability to earn a living for you and your families. Therefore the Mission to Seafarers is taking the following actions

    1. Our Mission Centres at Pier 15 in Hamilton and the Terry Finlay Seafarers Centre in Oshawa are closed.

    2. Ships will only be visited by request from the captain of the vessel.

    3. We are currently able to offer iVitta SIM Cards and recharge/refill cards by delivery to the bottom of the gangway at your ship.  Contact the Chaplain to make arrangements for delivery and payment. SIM cards, once delivered, cannot be returned, and no reimbursement can be provided. The chaplain cannot assist with installation or set up of cards or phones.

    4. We are able to offer transportation by request for emergency needs only.  Excursions are not possible. In Hamilton we can transport a maximum of two people to one location at any one time. Our new van is equipped with automatic doors so no contact is necessary and the driver will be an appropriate distance away from the passengers.

    5. Shopping with cash is very difficult at stores in Hamilton, Toronto or Osahwa. Only credit cards with tap payment ability are being accepted.  The chaplain can go shopping for a limited number of necessary items.  The chaplain can only shop at one store for one ship per day.  Please contact the chaplain with a list of needed items. He/she will purchase the items and deliver them to the bottom of the gangway, and will advise you of the amount needed for reimbursement. Shops are not permitting returns on any items at this time. The only shops open are those deemed  “essential”: Grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, restaurants offering  “take out”.

    6. The chaplain and volunteers are available for conversation through electronic means. If you would like to discuss what is on your mind at this difficult time, or if you would like a time of prayer for yourself, your loved ones, or your crew members, do not hesitate to contact the Chaplain.

    7. The following Chaplains are available for assistance:

    a. HAMILTON: Pastor Daniel Phannenhour can be contacted at 905-616-8985. He can be contacted at this number for voice or text messages by local telephone service, What’s App and Viber. He may also be reached by email at or by sending a message to this page. Chaplain’s assistant Ms Miranda Peters can also be contacted at (905) 516-7739‬‬ or via email at

    b. TORONTO and OSHAWA: Rev. Judith Alltree may be contacted at 647- 295-3219 or Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

    You may not see us, but we are thinking of you, and available to you.

    Blessings to you, and thank you for all of the work that you do in delivering the goods that we need for our daily life. The sacrifices that you are making and the hardships that you endure are not forgotten or ignored by the people of Canada.  We appreciate all that you are doing for us in the course of your work.  May each of you be preserved from harm in these days of trial and uncertainty, and may you return to your homes and your families in health and in safety.

    Rev. Judith Alltree, Executive Director, MTSSO/Regional Director, MtS Canada


    The MTSSO  has been visiting ships in the Port of Hamilton in December, 2019.  Gifts for mariners who will be at sea and working over the Christmas season, were brought to ships both domestic and foreign.  

    Crews of visited ships receive gifts from the Mission to Seafarers Southern Ontario (through the assistance of  and with great thanks to our "Secret Santa" and the Canadian Board of Marine Underwriters)

    A NOTE OF THANKS:  to all the wonderful “knitters” who spend the entire year putting their knitting needles to work making scarves, hats and gloves for the seafarers - and made us over 500 articles in total.  

    Special thanks to our staff and many volunteers who are the keys to keeping our Mission stations open throughout the Great Lakes Shipping Season: without your selfless devotion, time, talent and treasure our stations would not be open at all.

    Wishing all seafarers, their families, and our wonderful sponsors and supporters the Merriest of Christmases, the Happiest of Holidays and a safe, successful and healthy New Year.  

    Visited Ships pictured here include:

    MV "Patalya" 

    MV “Wicky Spirit” - heading to France so missing their families this Christmas

    MV "Algoma Harvester"

    MV "Eemsborg"

  • 6th Annual “Haul Out” Fundraising Luncheon

    Don’t miss the 6th Annual “Haul Out” Fundraising Luncheon!  Enjoy a wonderful Italian Buffett (including a fabulous Italian Pastry Buffet!!!) with old friends and new at the wonderful Mimico Cruising Club.  


    200 Humber Bay Park Road West Toronto, Ontario M8V 3X7

    Please contact Judith Alltree ( or 647-295-3219) to arrange for your tickets now!


    Congratulations to McKeil Marine on the re-christening of their newest vessel, the MV Wicky Spirit, in the Port of Toronto August 1st, 2019.

  • INAUGURAL MTSSO Golf “Fun Raising” Tournament

    July 25, 2019

    Inaugural MTSSO Golf “Fun Raising” Tournament

    Flambourough Hills, Hamilton, ON

    Perfect weather, excellent group, after a wonderful breakfast and a gorgeous sunrise, we gathered for a photo.  Great moment!  Ladies and Gentlemen: Start your engines!

    Thank you to everyone for attending and supporting us!

    Board member, Brent Chorney, chair of the event



    Thursday July 25, 2019

    For inquiries & sponsorship contact Brent Chorney:         or       1.647.407.8726


    To Ronda with Love!

    Rev. Ronda Ploughman arrived at the Mission to Seafarers’ Hamilton station in the winter of 2014/5.  Both she and Pastor Dan Phannenhour were recommended to us within a five minute time frame by two separate people so we knew the Holy Spirit was telling us something and we paid attention!  What a great team they have both been, bringing their unique and very special gifts to this ministry.   Ronda has very special training in counselling and crisis management, which has become very important to our Mission for our Critical Care Crisis Management program.  Ronda remains “on call” for us in that capacity - even though we have had to say farewell to her full time work at the Mission as she begins her incumbency at Epiphany Church in Oakville.  We will miss you on a day to day basis, Ronda, and wish you well in your new position - your parishioners are blessed! - but glad to know we will always have that special connection with you through our CCCM program.  

    Thank you for four amazing years.  We send you off with our love and thanks.

    The Board, Staff and Volunteers of MTSSO



    This year, at our 3rd Annual Celebration Dinner, which was held on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, supported by the Hamilton Port Authority and The Marine Club, The Mission to Seafarers Southern Ontario (MTSSO) received a generous donation of $10,000.00.

    The annual dinner is held to celebrate THE DAY OF THE SEAFARER and 59 years of the Mission to Seafarers Southern Ontario (MTSSO), serving seafarers coming through the Port of Hamilton.

    We would like to thank everyone for their donations and support.  We would not be able to provide the services to seafarers, without your generosity.


    On June 7, 2019,  the BLAIR MCKIEL was christened by Pastor Dan Phannenhour offering a prayer of blessing for the new ship at the Port of Hamilton. 

    The ship was built in 2010, measures 140 metres by 21 metres, with a DWT of 14,600 metric tonnes. A close sister ship to McKeil-owned vessels the Evans Spirit and McKeil Spirit, the Gagliarda loaded a cargo of road salt in Egypt destined for Picton, Ontario and Monroe, Michigan. Upon completion of discharge of her cargo, she entered Canada last month and began her Canadianization process. Today, we celebrate her official renaming as the M.V. BLAIR MCKEIL, a special tribute to industry icon Blair McKeil.

    “The Gagliarda pays homage to the legacy of McKeil Marine by taking on the name BLAIR MCKEIL, honouring the industry leader who successfully grew the business his father (Evans) established in 1956. We salute our past and with this newest vessel, along with the entire McKeil fleet and crew, embrace our future”, emphasizes Captain Scott Bravener, President of McKeil Marine Limited.

    The BLAIR MCKEIL (Gagliarda) will trade throughout the Great Lakes, carrying a variety of cargo including cement, quartz, coke, salt and gypsum.


    McKiel's new ship, Hinch Spirit was christened by the Rev. Rhonda Ploughman at the Port of Hamilton on May 27, 2019. The ship was built in 2009, measures 137 metres by 20 metres, with a DWT of 13,965 metric tonnes. The vessel was acquired to service the needs of McKeil’s customer Petro-Canada Lubricants Inc. (PCLI). Her journey originated in Singapore and continued to Malaysia where she loaded a cargo for delivery to the Mediterranean. She made a brief stop in France to load a feedstock cargo for PCLI and arrived in Canada just after Victoria Day to begin her Canadianization process. The Topaz was then officially renamed the Hinch Spirit in honour of IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe. 

    The Hinch Spirit (Topaz) will trade throughout the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River and the Eastern Seaboard. 

  • Hamilton Port Authority, Mission to Seafarers support marine industry workers.


    The organizations have partnered on a campaign to help workers deal with trauma.

    The Hamilton Port Authority and the Mission to Seafarers Southern Ontario (MTSSO) have launched a campaign to help marine industry workers deal with trauma in its immediate aftermath with the hope of preventing post-traumatic stress disorder.

    The pilot project puts in place a "crisis plan" in which an emergency phone number is provided to port tenants, shipping agents and seafarers that directly connects them to a Mission to Seafarers chaplain, said Vicki Gruber, Hamilton harbour master and manager of port security.

    "From minutes to hours, they will dispatch someone to arrive on-site to deal with the incident and those involved," she said.

    Workers in the marine industry could be exposed to an accident or death, extreme weather or a shipboard event — all of which could result in critical incident stress.

    The intention is to provide an immediate response while people seek additional support followed by a debriefing a week and a month later to make sure they are receiving the help they need, Gruber added.

    "The biggest thing is we want people to be aware that it is OK to ask for help in times of critical incident stress," Gruber said. "What they are feeling is a common reaction."

    Work on the project has been underway for about a year-and-a-half after an incident in Hamilton in which a 26,000-pound slab of steel flattened a longshoreman's foot, said Rev. Judith Alltree, executive director of the MTSSO.

    Two seafarers witnessed it and were "very, very distressed," she said.

    Alltree said she phoned Gruber and the two of them sat in her office with the seafarers, talking and mostly listening to them. The incident brought up other issues in their lives, she said.

    "It's about dealing with trauma, and the faster you can deal with trauma, the better it is for the person who's dealing with it to get help and move away from it and not have it affect the rest of your life," she said. 

    The Mission to Seafarers Southern Ontario cares for seafarers arriving in the ports of Hamilton, Toronto and Oshawa.

    This project is launching in Hamilton first because that port is the largest, has the greatest need and has offered the most support for the pilot, but the goal is to roll it out in Toronto and Oshawa by spring, Alltree said.

    "Ports are very vulnerable places to work — no matter what job you're doing," she said. "We want people to feel that no matter what, we are there to serve them and to help them and take care of them in the event of an accident."

    by Natalie Paddon The Hamilton Spectator

    905-526-2420 | @NatatTheSpec

  • Visitors in Oshawa at the Terry Finlay Seafarers Centre


    Wow!  Visitors in Oshawa at the Terry Finlay Seafarers Centre this weekend.  Many of the Filipino seafarers have had visits during their stay from Family members.  The huge Filipino community in the GTHA offers many opportunities for joyful reunions. We’re thrilled to finally have a place in Oshawa to gather.  




    The International Sailors Society of Canada has awarded the MTSSO an incredibly generous grant for 2018. It is in fact the largest one that the organisation has ever received. 

    We are very grateful to both the Diocese of Niagara and the ISSC for their generosity toward us, especially at a time when grant funds are difficult to come by, and few people understand the worth of the Mission.  

    It is gratifying to us that we continue to receive the support of such wonderful organizations who do see that value.

  • Four Diocesan Chaplaincy Grants Awarded

    Four Diocesan Chaplaincy Grants Awarded

    Three ecumenical university chaplaincies (Brock University, McMaster University, and the University of Guelph) as well as The Mission to Seafarers of Southern Ontario have received funding from the diocese to support their unique ministries on local campuses and at the Port of Hamilton.

    "Without the support of the Anglican Church, many key services provided to students, especially related to counselling and mentorship, simply would not exist; the largest and most successful program in the chaplaincy called the Big Questions Club is directly due to the Diocese of Niagara believing and supporting that vision,” said Brock’s Ecumenical Chaplain David Galston.

    University chaplaincies are an excellent example of ecumenical cooperation between Anglican, United and Presbyterian churches, allowing chaplains to undertake ministry in a way that none of the denominations could offer alone. Each chaplaincy is rooted in the context of its campus community, but all provide personal support, a variety of programs that range from social justice to faith formation in addition to opportunities for theological reflection and worship.  

    “There is great need for a tenable, intellectually responsible, expression of Christianity not only at Brock but in society as a whole,” said Galston. “With consistent support and encouragement, the Diocese of Niagara is helping the chaplaincy bring this vision to reality."

    For Mission to Seafarers Chaplains Ronda Ploughman and Dan Phannenhour, ministry at Canada’s third largest port differs a bit from on campus, with a focus on hospitality and care. “The human element of their work is where their hearts are,” said the Reverend Judith Altree, executive director of the Mission to Seafarers of Southern Ontario. “‘How can we help you?’ are their first words when meeting the seafarers on arrival in Hamilton.” Last year chaplains visited every ship that arrived in port.

    Chaplaincy grants are awarded for a two-year period to a maximum of $8,500 per year. Created in 2014, $30,000 has been disbursed to support the core work of these chaplaincy ministries, including program expenses, salary and ministry-related capital costs. Funding is made possible through the Survive and Thrive Outreach Endowment Fund.

    "The Chaplaincy depends on the generosity of supporting denominations,” said Galston.  

  • SUPPLY CHAIN CAREER FAIR – April 4, 2018

  • HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018, to Everyone from the MTSSO

  • We have been nominated for Seafarers’ Centre of the Year 2018

    We have been nominated for Seafarers’ Centre of the Year 2018

    The Mission to Seafarers Toronto has been nominated by seafarers for Seafarers’ Centre of the Year 2018 for the International Seafarers’ Welfare Awards, hosted by International Seafarers' Welfare & Assistance Network (ISWAN)

    The awards recognise excellence in seafarers’ welfare provision and those who are helping to raise standards across the industry.

    We would like to thank all of the Seafarers for nominating us, and it is an honor for us to be of service to Seafarers in all of our MTSSO ports: Toronto, Hamilton, Oshawa, Windsor, Sarnia.

    Sponsors this year are the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, Inmarsat, Garrets, Wrist Ship Supply, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), and MF Shipping Group. The awards are also supported by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA).

    The shortlist will be announced in February 2018.

    Please visit for more information about the International Seafarers’ Welfare Awards 2018.


    1. Marine Career Awareness Day Job Fair will be held the week after Easter, 2018, location to be determined.

    2. Celebration Dinner will be held during the International Week of the Seafarer in June, 2018; location and specific date to be determined.

    3. The Fifth Annual Haul Out fundraiser will be held November 22, 2018, at the Mimico Cruising Club. 

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    Volunteers from the Canadian Board of Marine Underwriters provided the funds from a 50/50 draw in Giving Tuesday as well as the labour for our annual Christmas Ditty Bags.  A huge shout out to CBMU for their support in addition to the many busy hands who spent last year knitting hundreds of scarves, hats and gloves.  To all those who care for seafarers especially at this time of year we send our grateful thanks!

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    Celebrate GivingTuesday, and your favourite charity could win $5,000!

    Help us win $5,000! Super easy to to here's how:
    1. Click the link below
    2. Enter your name and contact info
    3. Specify that you're supporting Missions to Seafarers, Southern Ontario.

    If your name is selected, The Mission will receive $5,000.00! There's no purchase necessary - we just needs a lot of entries in order to win! Please take two minutes to fill out the entry form! we could win big




    2017_fall haul out flyer v23.JPG.pdf 


    The Mission to Seafarers Southern Ontario is honoured to be the recipient of such an incredibly generous donation in memory of our long time board member and dear friend, Archbishop Terry Finlay.  Terry was a wonderful mentor who helped to guide us through the many changes we faced over the past few years.  These funds will enable us to complete the work on this much needed Seafarers' Centre where 3300 seafarers will find a place of respite and hospitality steps away from the port.   MTSSO board of directors voted unanimously to name our new Oshawa station after Terry.  On behalf of the board, we offer our sincere thanks to the Diocese of Toronto and the Bishop's Company.

    After a memorial to Archbishop Terence Finlay, Archbishop Colin Johnson and Canon AJ Finlay present a special $10,000 donation from the Bishop's Company to the Rev. Judith Alltree and Mission to Seafarers Southern Ontario for the new station in the Port of Oshawa. The station will be named after Archbishop Finlay, who served as episcopal visitor to the Mission to Seafarers in Canada after he retired.



    Volunteer Sue Hawthorne-Bate with Chaplain  Rev. Jann Maloney (on the right) who is our Volunteer Coordinator touring the M.V. Ardita before she heads out to sea….literally.

    Sergei, Stas and crewmate aboard the Ardita in Hamilton harbour before she begins venturing around the world again. These men are from the newly revamped, newly purchased Canadian ship “Ardita”, now back in service.

    ARDITA (Valletta, Malta) -23 April 2017 

    McKeil's 3rd vessel moved from her winter layup berth at pier 12 to pier 10 (P&H) in Hamilton, Ontario on April 22nd where she has been loading a cargo of grain.  She will sail deep sea for the remainder of 2017, returning to Canada in 2018.

  • Post Featured Image


    The 2017 Great Lakes shipping season opens when the St. Lawrence Seaway opens on March 22. We hope to have our new Oshawa station open in that last week of March. Always a new wrinkle: we need a whole new transformer for our station at a cost that takes up half the remaining budget. Help us out if you can! Looking for volunteers to pitch in with lots of chores once we finish the inside: the outside needs a paint job badly, as will the inside; always need help just meeting and greeting the seafarers. Anyone with good, gently used furniture please let me know ( This will be a "bare bones" mission station, but we're so excited and proud to be able to open a real place for our wonderful seafarers to rest. Ouir thanks again to Seafarers UK and their Board of Directors for all their support. And to our many supporters in the Diocese of Toronto. Looking forward to introducing a new ministry to our new Bishop Ryscilla!


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The Mission

The Mission to Seafarers Southern Ontario cares for seafarers who arrive in the ports of Hamilton, Toronto and Oshawa, Ontario.

Southern Ontario is an important shipping hub and hundreds of ships visit our ports annually. In 2013, the Missions to Seafarers of Toronto, Hamilton and Oshawa joined together to better serve the needs of hundreds of seafarers working in the Great Lakes.

We are grateful to the seafaring community who deliver to our doors 90% of the goods of the world; from the spoon full of sugar that makes the medicine go down … to the cars we drive to work. Those who work the freighters face danger, isolation, loneliness and often many months far away from home.

We serve as their home away from home providing a safe and welcoming space that offers friendship, spiritual support, a hot meal and a cold drink, a place to call family and friends, connect through internet access, unwind with a movie or shoot a game of pool. We help people connect to medical services, deal with unfair working conditions, unburden to a sympathetic ear or enjoy the limited time they have on leave.

Mission Centres


    Harbour town: A six-part series examining Hamilton's diverse and evolving waterfront, from its port industries to recreational west harbour.Part 1: A harbour in fullPart 2: Juggernaut on the Great LakesPart 3: West harbour waterworldPart 4: The last inletPart 5: Working the docksPart 6: Calm in the storm   Read More...

  • UPCOMING IN 2018

    1. Marine Career Awareness Day Job Fair will be held the week after Easter, 2018, location to be determined.2. Celebration Dinner will be held during the International Week of the Seafarer in June, 2018; location and specific date to be determined.3.   Read More...

  • Life on the Rough Seas

    Deacon Derek Skelton, one of our Oshawa chaplains, and a former Merchant Marine sent along this power point with photos of a storm-tossed cargo ship.     JobInOceanFreight.pps   Read More...

  • Generous support from the Hamilton Port Authority

    A very warm and special thanks goes out to the Hamilton Port Authority for their generous support of Mission to Seafarers Southern Ontario.  The Hamilton Port Authority has donated $10,000 to the Mission to Seafarers, Southern Ontario.       Read More...

  • Sponsor Appreciation Day

    In honour of International Seafarers Day, please join the Mission to Seafarers Southern Ontario for a Donor & Sponsor Appreciation Lunch.  See the poster below for details.        Read More...

  • Board of Directors Charts Course for Early 2015

    1/27 - Toronto, ON. The board of directors of the recently amalgamated Mission to Seafarers Southern Ontario spent this past Saturday charting is course for leadership of the mission's work. In preparation for developing a  new strategic plan for the organization in 2015, the board will be revisiting key issues over the next few months, including governance structure and board membership.      Read More...

  • Discovering the Mission to Seafarers Where You Least Expect It

    1/19 - Hamilton, ON.  Tim Huxley is a director of the Mission to Seafarers Southern Ontario. He shares the following story. In December, 2014, while on a cruise out of Southampton, UK, our ship, the Cunard Line "Queen Victoria", stopped in Gibraltar.   Read More...

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