PAST Services on the Norgoma
Food services on the Norgoma included a tuck shop where passengers could purchase candy, popcorn, soft drinks, local newspapers, post cards, stamps, and magazines. The well-appointed dining room seated fifty passengers at a time, necessitating two sittings for every meal. A typical meal included salads, Lake Huron whitefish, fresh vegetables, dinner rolls, fruit pies, milk, tea, and coffee. Click here to view a breakfast menu.
The whole town would come down to the shore to greet the boat, get their mail, get a first glimpse of their neighbour's new car, and see who had come to town.
The captain would give local children a small amount of money to carry sacks of grain off the boat.
The captain would blow the ship's whistle in a salute to the children who gathered at the docks to wave to it.
Passenger service was an important part of the Norgoma's operations
Passengers would have included loggers, businessmen, travelling salesmen, government officials, as well as families travelling.
Although all the cabins were "first class", a few of them were most luxurious, and had their own bath.
Even though the Norgoma, the last cruise ship to sail the North Channel, was popular with tourists, by 1960 her days were numbered. Subsidized with government funds, she had outlived her usefulness. The people and ports along the Turkey Trail no longer needed a coastal shipping service. The last run of the S.S. Norgoma (steam ship) on the Turkey Trail from Owen Sound to the Sault took place on September 12, 1963. A total of eighty passengers occupied the Norgoma's staterooms on her final voyage, including a large contingent that had arrived by bus from New York State. Her final cargo was an assignment of fifty-three tons of newsprint for the Owen Sound Sun Times, a newspaper reporter, and two cars. When she finally retuned to the docks in Owen Sound, it was the end of an era along the Turkey Trail.
The Norgoma becomes a car Ferry!
Following the completion of the Trans-Canada Highway in 1963, the Norgoma was converted from steam to diesel and remodelled as a car ferry. Carrying twenty-five cars on one deck and a dozen on the lower deck, the M.S. Norgoma (motor ship) ran twice daily on the ferry run from Tobermory to South Bay Mouth from 1964 to 1974. Retired to make way for the Chi-Chee-maun, with capacity of 140 vehicles, the Norgoma was brought to Sault Ste. Marie, in 1975.
Livestock was a major cargo. It took time to load and unload freight at each stop along the Turkey Trail. The purser would go ashore, set up a small table on the dock, and keep track of the freight, as it was off-loaded with supplies to last through the long winter.
The Norgoma's net freight tonnage for 1951, the first full year she was in service, amounted to 14,000 tons by 1962 it had dropped to 4,000 tons.