Read all about the years of work that has brought the ship close to its original beauty.
When the ship was brought to the city it was parked on the waterfront near where it sits today. The area soon became known as the “Norgoma Marine Park”. In the mid 90’s, the city rebuilt the area and renamed it the Roberta Bondar Park. During construction the ship was temporarily moved to the outer wall of the park. With the financial assistance of government, the city built a small marina and a slip for the MS Norgoma. The area directly beside the ship was initially configured and planned to be for a Marine Museum with direct access to the vessel as its chief artifact.
Due to the severe wooden deck damage that had developed, a large project was implemented that repaired much of the damaged wood and addressed the waterproofing of the wood decks. They also refinished the wheelhouse area. However over the next decade water infiltration continued and inside work could not be continued until the ship could be made weather tight. In the late 90’s the rear 40’ of the sundeck was redone and this allowed work to begin in the aft Boat deck area, planned for a meeting room, library and lounge. Work on the main deck, as it was encased in steel, could also continue and an admission counter, a small gift shop and two of the four original crew cabins were rebuilt.
After many years of consultation and negotiations, in the spring of 2006 another work project, funded in part by Service Canada, brought a small group of workers on board to address the exterior aesthetics of the ship. This involved removal of the old lead based paint from the Promenade deck up to the stacks, then re-priming and painted entire exterior. Because the ship could not be moved workers had to drape the ship as they used hand and air chisels to carefully remove and capture all the paint chips. The deck edges of the Sundeck were also repaired and sealed.
In the fall of 2006 the Corporation and Service Canada entered into another agreement to continue the work that began in the spring. The remainder of the sundeck was removed and rebuilt with new plywood, membrane and carpeting. This same procedure was done to areas on the promenade deck under the lifeboats and the front of the bridge deck.
In addition to the museum feature of the vessel, the present goal is to bring the ship to a level that will allow a Bed & Breakfast option to be developed as a financial source to maintain the ship.
When traveling in our area, we hope you will all take the opportunity to visit one of the true historic artifacts of the rich marine heritage of the Great Lakes.