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Historic ferry, S.S. Norisle being towed and recycled

The historic S.S. Norisle will be towed and dismantled in Port Colborne by early fall.

Assiginack Township Mayor Brenda Reid announced the demise of the ship at a special meeting of council stating the township and Marine Recycling Corporation in Port Colbourne had reached an agreement to have the ship towed from Manitowaning for up to 95% of the ship to be recycled.

Preparations for the towing is now underway and the ship is expected to be towed next week taking some six weeks for the recycling process.

She says the township will have to pay around $743,000 for the removal and recycling process.

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She adds the costs include a special pilot, as well as American assistance between Lake St. Clair and the St. Mary’s River, and insurance.

Reid adds some decisions on the remaining five percent will have to be made, but the telegraph housed in the ship will be put on display in the Assiginack Museum.

The Norisle was built at the Collingwood shipyards in 1946, the first steamship built in Canada after the end of World War Two and put into service on Manitoulin Island.

She was the ferry of her day operating until 1974 between Tobermory and South-Baymouth Manitoulin Island alongside her sister ships, the MS Norgoma and the MS Normac, owned by the Owen Sound Transportation Company Limited. She and her sister ships were replaced by the S.S. Chi-Cheemaun, which continues to provide services today.

The name Norisle is derived from “Nor”, a contraction of the Northern Region of Lake Huron, and “Isle”, referring to Manitoulin Island.

Once berthed at Manitowaning following her decommissioning, she operated as a museum, but that was closed in 2008 due to safety concerns due to her age.

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