Noronic was the largest Canadian passenger steamship vessel on the Great Lakes. It was owned and operated by the Canada Steamship Lines Limited. On September 16, 1949, docked in the Toronto harbor, the ship burned in the middle of the night with more than 130 passengers losing their lives. The fire started in a linen closet. The design and construction of the 36-year-old ship were also found to be at fault. The interiors had been lined with oiled wood instead of fireproof material. Exits were only located on one deck instead of all five. None of the ships fire hoses were in working order. Damage suits for the Noronic were settled for just over $2 million. In 1911, the peak year, 80,000 passengers traveled to Lake Superior. After 1920, the number of passenger cruise ships diminished with the advent of “motor-cars.” Very few cruise ships were still in service after World War II. The last of those, the South American, made its last visit to Duluth in the 1966 season.
~ Photo Credit: University of Minnesota Duluth, Kathryn A. Martin Library, Northeast Minnesota Historical Collections