City Seizes Norgoma

ONNtv cameras were at the Norgoma Thursday as the City broke the lock to the Norgoma and seized the vessel / ONNtv received the following statement from the Board  of Directors of the MS Norgoma.

The Board of Directors of the MS Norgoma is saddened to report to you a number of misguided actions by the Corporation of the City of Sault Ste. Marie.

On Wednesday, 22 May 2019, the Board of Directors approached a local locksmith to replace the deadbolt on the MS Norgoma for security purposes and was made aware that they had just drilled out the lock and replaced it on orders from Rick Borean, Supervisor of  Community Services in the Department of Recreation and Culture. Mr. Borean also instructed this locksmith to contact all other locksmiths in the city to inform them they were not to touch the locks on the MS Norgoma. The City unlawfully locked the Board of Directors out of their property (the MS Norgoma) and kept them from accessing the thousands of artifacts that the Board owns. Following this, members of the Board regained their rightful access to the MS Norgoma and replaced the lock placed on it by the City.

On Thursday, 23 May 2019, a volunteer was on board the MS Norgoma aiding in the cataloguing of artifacts when the City contacted the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service claiming a break in, and tried to break the door open. The volunteer was startled but not injured. The City claimed they had reconvened the vessel, without any member of the Board of Directors having received proof. The City then provided a copy of correspondence sent to the St. Mary’s River Marine Heritage Center’s lawyer, who was in court at the time and unable to receive or respond to the correspondence. This letter was also dated 23 May 2019, after they had already broken and entered into the ship and left it in a hazardous state the day prior.

The Sault Ste. Marie Police Services forced the Board to give them access to the ship and then allowed everyone except the Board members entry into the vessel. Sergeant R. Chabot determined it was necessary to sweep the ship to ensure there was no one left inside, taking an artifact key from a Board member, which he provided to an employee of the City, and the City then refused to return, even though the key was an artifact and therefore the property of the Board. The entire debacle was organized and supported by Deputy CAO, Community Development & Enterprise Services Tom Vair,  Director, Community Services Brent Lamming, and Manager, Recreation and Culture Virginia McLeod, as well as Mr. Borean. Numerous City workers were also in attendance. The City drilled out the lock the Board of Directors had placed on the ship on 22 May 2019 and informed present members of the Board that they would be halting any access to the ship. The SSMPS made the Board aware that anyone caught on or near the ship would be charged with trespassing.

The Board of Directors of the MS Norgoma condemns the actions of the City of Sault Ste. Marie, and will be pursuing the necessary channels to prove legal ownership of the vessel and regain access to it.

We would like the public to rest assured that we will do everything in our power to continue to preserve the history of the Sault and surrounding area that the MS Norgoma represents, and share it with the community and its visitors. We are very thankful to everyone who has continued to support us during this long and unnecessary battle to protect and preserve our heritage.


  1. The boat probably is sitting on the bottom of the harbour. There is water in the engine room that registers about the same height as the waterline on the outside of the ship. That is probably why it hasn’t been towed away yet.

  2. Whoever made this decision should have to answer why they are wasting tax payers money on such a ridiculous situation. Sounds like someone has an emotional reason for acting out this way. What a shame 😞

    • Profit. They took some of my parents property some years ago for Parks and Recreation. My parents asked for the right to buy it back when they sold it, were told no. A year later they sold it as a pit and my parents fought for a year to say they did not want to buy it back Told they had no right to city property.
      This pit has changed the water table and has cost many people to get wells. The city is not here for you.

  3. Red Scare?

    Maybe Mayor Christian Provenzano feared an embarrassment as the Prime Minister is visiting. Maybe he thought some Frenchmen would sneak up from Quebec Province wearing yellow vests, and do what the Bolsheviks did aboard the cruiser Aurora in 1917? One can’t be too careful.

  4. The Norgoma is like a 3yr not getting their way in a store and throwing a huge fit And the city is the parent who has to carry that 3yr out over their shoulder, while everyone stares at them like the beat their kid but in reality the kid had more than enough warnings.

    I also wonder for all those who want it to stay, when the last time you toured the ship? Volunteered for it? Help fundraise for it?

    • The boat has no local history. Its service was in other towns and cities. It is a pile of pending rust and river pollutant. I thought mariners cared about our waterways? The board is a bunch of whiners and shouldn’t be allowed in the area for insurance reasons. The docking area is city property and they are still liable for any mishaps.

  5. The boat needs to go, you’ve been evicted for almost a year. I can’t understand the cities misguided, and border line illegal handling of the situation. But, either way if the city doesn’t force that boat to move through any means necessary, they’ll just linger. Very obviously everyone who works there is just “lingering”. You’ve known for 9 months almost that you’ve gotta move, and you’re telling me none of the artifacts have been moved off of the ship? This is just irresponsible on both ends, but yeah get that eyesore out of there. This city is dying, there’s nothing a poorly made boat from the 50’s with a sliver of history to it can do to fix that. Write a book on it, and make sure you get your precious artifacts off of that boat for your preservation purposes. And even better if the board owns it, they can foot all of the bills. Your numbers on the boat may have went up some, but that’s because of all the public outrage, many of those 5,000 visitors last year were Sault Natives, I bet.

  6. To play devils advocate here :

    Why did the Board knowing that the vessel was to be towed away eventually not remove all mentioned artifacts of historical value and place them in storage or place in the care of the museum ?

    • Arg.. I swear you can’t make this stuff up, we can’t fix this kind’a stupid & there’s no excuse for this level of incompetency. A simple window replacement & City Hall now looks like it got hit by a missile & they have no idea where the money is going to come from to fix it.. & yet some how they found a million dollars for Future SSM and a Hundred thousand dollars for a logo that looks more like a CIA experiment gone wild.

      I don’t think we can afford or survive a ‘full-term’ with these nitwits.. unlawful entry is a criminal offense & it’s enough to prevent them from ever running again, good-bye & good riddance to ‘Bad-Actors’.

      For good measure some one on the MS Norgoma board of directors should report this to ‘Crime-Stoppers’ & let them join the rank and file of ‘Wanted Wednesday’.. again, just sayin.


  7. Sounds to me like City Council just tried to steal a ship.. if the board of directors can prove ownership, then I say charge the Mayor & Council with ‘unlawful entry’.

    I can’t think of more befitting or efficient method of getting rid of the entire lot of them, in one quick sweep.. drag them all out of there in hand-cuffs. Move to initiate criminal charges & a new municipal election holding these clowns personlly responsible for the damage they’ve incurred to ‘our’ City Hall.

    A call to Action: Rally on the Steps demanding their arrests & immediate removal from the property.!!

    Strange daze indeed..
    [email protected]

  8. Well we havent much for tourist to see and with the price of gas they wont be going much along the north shore for a drive and now that the Agawa Indian Craftsis gone … There are no other beautiful gift shops 🙁

    • They had plenty of notice the ship was being moved. Why wait until the last minute to “catalogue” items? Why were items not removed a long time ago? I see nothing wrong with this, just as a landlord would do the same with a tenant.

      It’s time for this pimple on the waterfront to leave ASAP.

      • They weren’t wait until the last minute, they have been cataloging all this time, the boat was a mess from years of bad record keeping and information not being passed on, there are literally thousands of artifacts that have gone properly accounted for and recorded in a very specific way. It’s not as simple as writing it down in a notebook. Insurance premiums are significantly higher when valuables are left onboard for a tow, and if items are removed for storage they again have to be inventoried and recorded. One has to remember that all of the board members and people involved are volunteers and have real life full time jobs and families and cannot always be spending time on the boat if they have bills to pay. They were giving what they could as often as they can.

  9. They knew this was coming, should have had that all cleaned out. On the flip side they should have gotten ahead of the game this week and painted the ridiculous new logo on the side of the ship, it then would have instantly become a shining beacon representing the city and diversity and a myriad of other imaginary things, and council would have outdone each other in their efforts to keep the ship and logo where it is.

  10. Maybe off topic but why should it be of the Locksmiths responsibility to notify other Locksmiths? Or is this how it usually works? Lol. I can now tell my competitors what to do or not to do?

  11. The city of Sault Ste. Marie council are a bunch of babies from the top down, and should be all replaced, if they cannot have there way, the they pull this crap, let them get there artifacts, or if they can find another spot to put this history of the great lakes, Sad thing for a city to do.

  12. Provenzano has been adamant that he wanted the ship removed. I didn’t think he’d resort to these kind of bullying tactics, however.

    • Unfortunately, we’ve been waiting almost a year for the boat to be removed, and they didn’t remove any artifacts or other important pieces during the off season. Not really council’s fault, when realistically if the people managing the Norgoma weren’t hoping for a miracle. They’ve had 9 months, retrieve these items, and by the sounds of it they only started a little bit ago. This is ridiculous on both sides. On one hand, they’ve had more than enough time to “catalogue” items. On the other, its unethical of council to behave so haphazardly.

      Unsurprising still, another day in the Soo.

  13. As usual the city can’t do anything right or by it’s own set of deadlines. This old eyesore should have been removed a month ago and anything like this would have been avoided.
    P.S. If anyone from the city is reading this fix the cow trail downtown that you call Queen street it is a total mess and beyond embarrassing for us let alone visitors to come and have to drive over the huge bumps and numerous potholes.

    • Chris Matthews so true! If that boat was called the “SS Owen Sound” or the “Owen Sound Express”, there’s no way that thing would have remained here this long. 4 letters kept it here G, O, M, and A.

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