MANITOWANING—Over the past several years, the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society, formerly, “Friends of the Norisle,” has invested thousands of hours and dollars in developing a restoration plan for the recommissioning of the S. S. Norisle as a Great Lakes 4-star cruise ship. The funding initiative will seek financial support from citizens, corporations, associations, government and visitors from around the world.
“The initiative was met with enthusiasm by the Hon. Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport,” stated Abby Stec, executive director of the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society. “Since that meeting, a great deal of support has been demonstrated by the minister’s senior staff. They indicated that the refitting of the S.S. Norisle and her subsequent return to active service would represent a unique opportunity to share an iconic vessel with the general public as part of the Great Lakes heritage and culture. It is clearly recognized that this ambassador of the North will stimulate a new economy within the tourism sector across the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway,” Ms. Stec added.
At present, the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society is awaiting funding confirmation from the Tourism Development Fund for an application submitted in September. This funding will allow for an updated feasibility study which will further support the campaign momentum, the applicants hope.
The society’s new website is poised to launch and the campaign chairs and senior leadership committees will be announced in the upcoming months.
“The Steamship Society would like to recognize the continued support and leadership provided by the Assiginack municipal council,” Ms. Stec stated.
Built in the Collingwood Shipyards in 1946, the Norisle, a hand-fired, coal-burning steamship, provided regular seasonal passenger ferry services from 1947 to 1974 between Tobermory and South Baymouth. It was replaced in 1974 by the M.S. Chi-Cheemaun.
The Norisle was acquired by Assiginack council and its museum board in 1975 and has been moored in Manitowaning Bay since that time.