Tobermory Investors Real Estate Inc., and Sault Ste. Marie may have reached an understanding / agreement regarding the MS Norgoma ship docked by the Sault, to have the ship towed to Tobermory harbour. The price agreed upon is $2,500.00. Tobermory Real Estate Investors Inc. will be responsible for the towing fee to it’s new home in Tobermory.
MS Norgoma was a Canadian freighter and passenger ferry, which could also carry a small number of vehicles. Originally designed in 1950 as a steam-powered ship, SS Norgoma sailed the route mainly from Owen Sound’s home port to Sault Ste. Marie, offering a five-day round trip, once a week, serving secluded communities along Lake Huron’s north shore.
Upon conversion to a motor ship, Norgoma was moved along with her sister ship SS Norisle to the famous Manitoulin Island ferry route between Tobermory and South Baymouth, Manitoulin Island, replacing the smaller ferry, MS Normac, along that route. With increased car traffic to and from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island, the waterway required greater automotive efficiency in vehicle transportation (cars on the ferry) than her sister ships SS Norisle and MS Normac could have handled, and after some adjustments to the Norgoma, in 1964 she began her transportation trips. Both Norgoma and Norisle were replaced in 1974 by the much larger and more modern MS Chi-Cheemaun which was able to carry more vehicles than the two sister ships put together.
After the Norgoma’s retirement she was then moored at Sault Ste. Marie as a museum float. The ship was sold to a foundation, the St. Mary ‘s River Marine Heritage Center in 1981. Sault Ste. Marie in early 2019 placed pressure on the charity to move the Norgoma, and it was was moved to an alternative mooring site on June 4 , 2019, on land previously owned by Algoma Steel, a site not open to the public. Citing violation of the 1981 agreement in September 2019, the City repossessed the ship and put her up for sale. Since last year the municipality has been paying the dockage fee of $40 per day while staff were looking for a buyer.
If the sale goes through, the Norgama will arrive at its final place of rest in one of the communities it proudly served from 1964 to 1974.
As of 24 July 2020, “The Manitoulin Expositor” has reported that the Norgama has indeed been sold, and plans are to turn it into a restaurant and tourist attraction in Tobermory.