The Noronic was launched in June of 1913 in Port Arthur, Ontario, for the Northern Navigation Co., which merged that same year with the Richelieu and Ontario Line to form the Canada Steamship Line. Her cabins were fitted out the following winter in Sarnia, Ontario. At the time of her launch, she was the largest excursion steamer on the lakes. Before entering service in 1914, she was found to be slightly unstable so, following the completion of her first season, her beam was increased by six feet at American Shipbuilding’s Lorain dry dock to resolve the problem. The modifications proved to be successful and she operated without incident for more than three decades, sailing from Windsor, Detroit, and Sarnia to Duluth.

In the late summer of 1949 hundreds of passengers boarded the Noronic – or the “Norey,” as she was affectionately known – for a relaxing cruise from Detroit to the Thousand Islands Region of the St. Lawrence River. On the afternoon of September 16th, she docked in Toronto for an overnight stay so passengers could enjoy the city. Shortly after midnight a fire broke out in a linen closet on the Promenade Deck. The cause of the fire was never determined. It spread very quickly as passengers struggled to reach the ship’s only two gangways – located on E Deck – and the safety of the dock below. Most of the crew had left the Noronic to enjoy a night on the town, so only a few (15 of the 171) were on hand to assist the passengers. No crew members were lost in the disaster. By the time the Toronto fire department arrived at the dock, the Noronic was engulfed in flames. So much water was pumped onto the boat to fight the fire that she took on a severe list and finally settled to the lake bottom. In the end, 118 passengers lost their lives in what remains Toronto’s deadliest disaster.

More information about the Noronic disaster is available in the articles section.
Builder: Western Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.
Location: Port Arthur, Ontario
Launched: June 2, 1913
Official Number: 134014
Vessel Length: 362’ Gross Tonnage: 6,905
Vessel Width: 52’ Net Tonnage: 3,935
Vessel Height: 24’ 8” Hull Material: Steel

4 cylinder, triple-expansion (29.5” + 47.5” + 58” & 58” x 42”), built by American Shipbuilding Co.

Boilers: 4 single-ended scotch (15.5’ x 11’), built by Western Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.
Horsepower: 4,500 Steam Pressure: 200 psi
1913 - 1914 Northern Navigation Co., Ltd.
1914 - 1949 Canada Steamship Lines, Ltd.
Notes: Modified at American Shipbuilding Co.’s Lorain dry dock following the 1914 season to increase stability.
The Noronic’s name was derived from the Northern Navigation Company (“NO”) and Richelieu & Ontario Line (“RO”), which had merged to form Canada Steamship Lines. “NIC” was a traditional suffix for Northern Navigation ships at the time.
Caught fire and burned at its dock in Toronto, Ontario, on September 17, 1949.
Hull raised and removed to Hamilton, Ontario, on October 29, 1949, where it was cut up for scrap by the Steel Co. of Canada, Ltd.
Click on each image to view a larger version

Three additional real photo postcard views of the Noronic: at the Port Colbourne, Ontario dock (left), interior view of the Noronic’s Grand Saloon (center), and sailing beneath the Blue Water Bridge on the St. Clair River at Port Huron, Michigan (right).

Postcard views of the Noronic’s two sister ships – the Hamonic and Huronic – are shown below.

Str. Hamonic (1909) Str. Huronic (1902)

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