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Historical Perspective
Featured Lake Boat:


James R. Elliot 1902 - 1931
Normac 1931 - 1969
Captain John's Restaurant 1969 - 1989
Capt. John's Seafood 1989 - 1995
Riverboat 1995 - 2008
Tokyo Joe's 2008 - 2013
Riverboat Mexican Grill 2013 - Today

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Built by Jenks Ship Building Co., Port Huron, MI as hull 19. Launched on November 29, 1902 as JAMES R. ELLIOT for the Detroit Fire Department. Dimensions: 110' 0" loa x 25' 0" beam x 12' 0" depth; 210 GRT, 114 NRT. Powered by an 1893 Cowles Double high pressure non-condensing steam engine from the fireboat DETROITER and tug SARNIA CITY.

Sold to Owen Sound Transportation in 1930 and converted to passenger ferry by Georgian Bay Shipbuilding Co. New dimensions: 117' 2" loa x 25' 0" beam x 12' 0" depth; 462 GRT, 341 NRT. Steam engine replace with a 5 cylinder Fairbanks Morse diesel engine. She entered service as the NORMAC and operated between Tobermory and South Baymouth, Ontario. Later operated service the North Shore route between Owen Sound and Sault Ste. Marie.

In 1968 she was sold to Don Lee and was move to Wallaceburg, ON.

John Letnik bought the NORMAC in 1969 to be converted to a floating restaurant in Toronto. Passed down through Detroit on July 23, 1969 under own power for Toronto. Opened as the CAPTAIN JOHN'S HARBOUR BOAT RESTAURANT at the foot of Yonge St. with a new dinning superstructure and still registered as the NORMAC. On June 2, 1981, the ferry TRILLIUM had a power failure and struck the NORMAC broadside putting a hole below the waterline. Two weeks later the hull patch failed and she sank at her dock. The superstructure was removed in early 1982 while the hull remained on the bottom.

Sometime in 1984, the hull was refloated and used as floating restaurant CAPT. JOHN'S SEAFOOD in Cleveland with a new upperdeck.
The restaurant was moved in 1995 to Port Dalhousie and named Riverboat.

The restaurant was later renamed TOKYO JOE'S. A suspicious fire broke out in the early morning hours of December 28, 2011 completely gutting the boat causing about $500,000 in damage. Her future in now in doubt.

 

James R. Elliot 1902 - 1931
(City of Detroit Fire Dept.)

Underway.
(John G. Mackay collection)

     
Normac 1931 - 1968
(Owen Sound Transportation Co.)

Early paint scheme.
(James Studio, Skip Gillham & Don Geske collection)

Postcard view arriving in South Bay Mouth, ON.
(Don Geske collection)

Another South Bay Mouth postcard.
(Don Geske collection)

Postcard view of her tied up in Tobermory, ON.
(Gerry Ouderkirk collection)

Tied up at the ferry dock in South Baymouth, ON.
(John G. Mackay collection)

Postcard view in South Baymouth, ON. New
(Roger LeLievre collection)

1939 Brochure.
(Gerry Ouderkirk collection)

Page 2.
(Gerry Ouderkirk collection)

Page 3.
(Gerry Ouderkirk collection)

Page 4.
(Gerry Ouderkirk collection)

Captain Oz Long, 1940's.
(Cliff Morrison collection)

Wheelsman Angus Morrison, 1940's.
(Cliff Morrison collection)

Early morning at Mission Pt. in the late 50's to early 60's.
(Photo by Thomas Manse, Roger LeLievre collection)

Upbound at Mission Pt. in the late 50's to early 60's.
(Photo by Thomas Manse, Roger LeLievre collection)

Docked in Killarney, September 1960.
(Photo by John G. Mackay)

Backing away from the dock.
(Roger Chapman Collection, courtesy Skip Gillham)

Tied up in Owen Sound, December 28, 1964.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Downbound from the Soo, October 1965.
(Photo by John G. Mackay)

At the Government Dock in Meldrum Bay, August 1966.
(Graham Grattan collection)

Normac tied up in Wallaceburg, 1968.
(Photo by George Lee)

Looking down on the foredeck, August 1968.
(Photo by George Lee)

Arriving at Meldrum Bay for the last time in her career, September 1968.
(John G. Mackay collection)

Leaveing Meldrum Bay for the last time, September 1968.
(John G. Mackay collection)

Chief Engineer Wilfred Lowe, September 1968.
(John G. Mackay collection)

Accommodation deck looking forward. The galley was forward to port on the lower deck, accessed through the open door at the last table, September 1968.
(John G. Mackay collection)

Looking aft on the passenger deck from the forward end, September 1968.
(John G. Mackay collection)

Looking aft on the passenger deck, aft of the stack,
September 1968.
(John G. Mackay collection)

Engine builders plate, September 1968.
(John G. Mackay collection)

On the top deck looking forward.
(John G. Mackay collection)

Captain H G McNeill has just rung up "Finished with Engines" for the last time in Owen Sound, September 1968.
(John G. Mackay collection)

Tied up in Owen Sound at the end of the trip, September 1968.
(John G. Mackay collection)

Tied up in Owen Sound, September 21, 1968.
L-R Normac, Norgoma, Michipicoten and George Hindman at right.
(John G. Mackay collection)

Looking aft of the starboard upper deck, October 1968.
(John G. Mackay collection)

Postcard view.
(Don Geske collection)

Another postcard view.
(Don Geske collection)

 
Normac 1968 - 1969
(Lee Marine Limited)

Normac downbound at Port Lambton bound for Wallaceburg in 1968.
(Photo by George Lee)

Fairbanks Morse - 5 cylinder, 350 hp main engine.
(Photo by George Lee)

   
Normac & Captain John's Restaurant 1969 - 1989
(John Letnik)

On Lake Erie bound for Toronto after sale by Lee Marine Limited to John Letnik in 1969.
(Photo by George Lee)

On Lake Erie during her delivery trip to Toronto, 1969.
(Photo by Thomas Manse, Roger LeLievre collection)

Shortly before opening as a restaurant in Toronto.
(Photo by Alfred King, Skip Gillham Collection)

Open for business with "Restaurant" painted on.
(Photo by Ken Lowes, Skip Gillham Collection)

The first year of the new superstructure, May 24, 1973.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

A view of the floating restaurant, May 1974.
(Marc Vander Meulen collection)

A postcard view from the Jodran.
(Photo by Dino Sassi, Gerry Ouderkirk collection)

Captain John's Restaurant on the bottom in Toronto.
(Photo by Mike Filey, Skip Gillham collection)

Captain John's Restaurant sunk in Toronto in 1982.
(John G. Mackay collection)

Upper deck has been removed, 1980's.
(Photo by Alfred King, Skip Gillham Collection)

Refloated hull, stripped to the deck in Toronto, 1986.
(Photo by Norm Wood, Skip Gillham Collection)

 
Capt. John's Seafood 1989 - 1995
(unknown)

Tied up below Lock 1 bound for Cleveland by the tugs Ohio & Delaware, June 24, 1989.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Sitting in Cleveland next to the William G. Mather, 1989.
(Photo by Jim Hoffman)

Tied up in the Cuyahoga River, August 1994.
(Photo by Capt. Hugh Malovey, Gerry Ouderkirk collection)

Stern view, August 1994.
(Photo by Capt. Hugh Malovey, Gerry Ouderkirk collection)

Riverboat 1995 - 2008
(unknown)

Stuck arriving her new dock in Port Dalhousie, May 13, 1995.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

First year under the name restaurant Riverboat, 1995.
(Photo by Jim Hoffman)

View from the dock, 1995.
(Photo by Jim Hoffman)

Black & white view, August 19, 1995.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Tokyo Joe's 2008 - 2013
(Nino Donatelli)

Bow view at her dock in Port Dalhousie, September 20, 2008
(Photo by Matt Miner)

Stern view, September 20, 2008
(Photo by Matt Miner)

Bow view after the fire, December 29, 2011.
(Photo by David Bull)

Burned paint outside the blown out windows, December 29, 2011.
(Photo by David Bull)

A glimpse of the interior damage, December 29, 2011.
(Photo by David Bull)

Stern view of the damage, December 29, 2011.
(Photo by David Bull)

Exterior fire damage covered, but windows still missing, August 18, 2012.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

 
Riverboat Mexican Grill 2013 - Today
(Nino Donatelli)

Bow view with her new look, July 6, 2013.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Close up of the name, July 6, 2013.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Stern view, July 6, 2013.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Interior view looking forward, July 6, 2013.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

Looking aft, July 6, 2013.
(Photo by Skip Gillham)

     

 

Masters and Chief Engineers of the James R. Elliot
(Courtesy of Russ Plumb)
Masters Chief Engineers
Unknown 1902 - 25
Hubert H. Skiffington 1926 - 29
Gillbert Townsend 1929 - 1930
Unknown 1902 - 26
George P. Sieler 1926 - 29
Hiram J. Ward 1929 - 30
Masters and Chief Engineers of the Normac (Owen Sound Transportation Co.)
(Courtesy of Russ Plumb)
Masters Chief Engineers
Unknown 1932 - 34
Oz S. Long 1934 - 42
H. G. McNeil 1943 - 45
O. S. Long 1946
H. G. McNeil 1947 - 65
R. Morrison 1966
H. G. McNeil 1967 - 68
E. Robinson 1932 - 35
C. Aitken 1936 - 37
W. Morrison 1938
W. Monkhouse 1939 - 42
John Allen 1943 - 47
George Webster 1948 - 52
J. B. Smith 1953
B. L. Cleveland 1954 - 65
Wilfred Lowe 1966 - 68
Masters and Chief Engineers of the Normac (Lee Marine Limited)
(Courtesy of Russ Plumb)
Masters Chief Engineers
Don Lee 1968 - 69 Unknown 1968 - 69

 


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Last updated: June 5, 2013.

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