Date: 1949

Origin: CNE Archives/Toronto Historical Board, “S.S. Noronic”


The S.S. Noronic was built in 1913 at Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay) for the Northern Navigation Co. Limited (later Canada Steamship Lines Ltd.). This luxury passenger and cargo steamer was equipped with a music room, a writing room, a barbershop, a smoking room, a buffet, a bar, dining and observation rooms.

On September 17, 1949 at 2:30 a.m. while the ship was docked in Toronto, fire was discovered in a linen closet. Within 15 minutes, the entire upper portion of the ship was ablaze. The rapid fire resulted in the death of 119 passengers. Survivors were rushed by ambulances and taxis to hospitals and emergency stations in the Royal York and King Edward hotels, where clothes donated by Eatons, Simpsons and Northway were distributed. On September 18th, the Horticulture Building at the CNE was turned into a temporary morgue for the burned victims. On September 25th, a Memorial Service was held in the CNE Coliseum. View an article on about the S.S. Noronic disaster Once Upon a City: The day the S.S. Noronic turned Toronto‚ waterfront into a deadly inferno.