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SS Norisle

Coordinates: 45°44′34″N 81°48′15″W / 45.742854°N 81.804277°W / 45.742854; -81.804277
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SS Norisle at the Manitowaning Heritage Complex
Norisle at the Manitowaning Heritage Complex
OwnerOwen Sound Transportation Company
Port of registryOwen Sound
BuilderCollingwood Shipbuilding, Collingwood
In serviceSeptember 1946
Out of service1974
FateScrapped February 2024
General characteristics [1]
TypeCar and passenger ferry
Tonnage1,668 GRT, 1,360 NRT
Length215 ft 8 in (65.74 m)
Beam36 ft 1 in (11.00 m)
Draft16 ft (4.9 m)
Depth12 ft 7 in (3.84 m)
Installed power1,000 hp (746 kW)
Propulsion1 × triple expansion steam engine
Speed12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Capacity200 passengers and up to 50 vehicles

SS Norisle was a Canadian steam-powered automobile ferry that operated 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.

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

Norisle no longer operates as a museum. This is mainly due to the ship's age which had raised safety concerns. According to locals in the area the museum was closed in 2008, and taken to Port Colborne, Ontario for scrapping in Fall, 2023.

Ferry operations


The ship is 215ft in length. Norisle was built at the Collingwood shipyards in 1946—the first steamship built in Canada after the end of World War II. Her engines were designed and built for a Royal Canadian Navy corvette, but because of the end of the war, they were installed in Norisle instead. They are now the only remaining engines of their type in existence today. The ship had two doors on the starboard with a ramp that allowed vehicles to drive on and off the vessel during her service as a ferry. She sailed until the year 1974, when she and her sister ship, Norgoma, were replaced by the much larger and more modern MS Chi-Cheemaun which could accommodate a much larger number of automobiles, and passengers (but no livestock).



Norisle is now permanently berthed at the Assiginack Museum Complex on Manitoulin Island as a museum ship for tourists to explore. For the last few years it has also served as a training ground for Canadian Naval Cadets.

In recent years, Norisle has fallen into a state of disrepair. The ship was slowly sinking due to rainwater entering through her engine room vents and the main smokestack. This has since been stopped by placing tarps over them. City leaders planned on having it towed to deep water and sunk as a dive site, however these plans have been halted because a support group for Norisle was formed in March 2007, "Friends of the Norisle." The group plans to investigate refurbishing or using the ship for beneficial purposes.

Efforts failed and the ship was towed to Marine Recycling Corporation in Port Colborne, Ontario in 2023 for scrapping.


  1. ^ "S.S. Norisle Information". Friends of the Norisle. Retrieved 16 December 2012.

45°44′34″N 81°48′15″W / 45.742854°N 81.804277°W / 45.742854; -81.804277