The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Normac (Motor vessel), C134014, 1933

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The fire tug JAMES R. ELLIOTT built by the Jenks Ship Building Company for the City of Detroit was launched this afternoon at 1:45 in the presence of a large number of people, including the Fire Commission of Detroit. The tug is named for the late chief of the Detroit Fire Department.
      Port Huron Daily Times
      Saturday, November 29, 1902
      Steam screw JAMES R. ELLIOTT. U. S. No. 77566. Of 210 tons gross; 214 tons net [?] Built Port Huron, Mich., 1902. Home port, Detroit, Mich. 110.0 x 25.0 x 12.0 Of 175 indicated horsepower. Crew of 10.
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1903

Propeller NORMAC.* Official Canadian No. 154621. Of 462 tons gross; 341 tons reg. Built at Port Huron, Mich., in 1902. Home port, Owen Sound, Ont. 117.2 x 25.1 x 11.7 and 12 horse power. Owned by the Owen Sound Transportation Co., Owen Sound, Ont.
      Formerly JAMES R. ELLIOTT.
      List of Vessels on Registry Books of the Dominion
      of Canada on the 31st. Day of December, 1933

Note: The later career of the Normac deserves a summary. I first encountered the ship in 1967, at Meldrum Bay. Hitch-hiking to the Soo across Manitoulin Island, I arrived at the port at night in a driving rainstorm. I booked a "stateroom" just to get out of the rain, sailing on the Normac to Blind River the next morning. That ferry service was abandoned the next year, I believe, and soon thereafter Normac was sold to a restauranteur in Toronto, becoming Captain John's Seafood Restaurant, berthed broadside to Queen's Quay. In that vulnerable position she was rammed and sunk by the sidewheeler Trillium, which had lost her reverse gear. Normac remained on the bottom for some time (more than a year, if I recall correctly); then she disappeared.

Not especially curious, I assumed she had been broken up. About 1989, however, out for a drive in Port Weller, I caught sight of a vessel that seemed vaguely familiar. It was the Normac, freshly painted and still labelled "Captain John's Seafood" She was waiting for Lock 1, with tugs ahead and astern. I walked up to examine her, and four faces peered down at me over the rail: the crew, all of them drunk. When I mentioned that I'd known the Normac up on Manitoulin, the oldest of the crew, maudlin in his cups, pronounced "Thish izh a revivified sship." She was on her way to serve fish dinners in Cleveland.

I forgot about her once again, and since then I'd moved to Port Weller East. On May 7 of 1995, my daughter returned from walking the dog to report that 'some sort of houseboat' was parked out back. It was the Normac again. A tug had brought her down from Cleveland, where she'd been mothballed for some years, to be yet another floating restaurant, this time at Port Dalhousie. An easterly prevented her from making the harbour there, and for several days she remained at the wall in the Seaway compound, giving me ample time to imagine what a fine house she might make if the latest Captain John's Seafood Restaurant didn't work out.
      Information courtesy Lachlan MacRae

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William R. McNeil
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Normac (Motor vessel), C134014, 1933