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Hail to the Chief – Jack Norris of the GBL

Jack Norris became ‘chief engineer’ of the Gananoque Boat Line after spending a lifetime at sea. Standing head and shoulders above everyone, his tough, gravelly voice commanded attention nearly everywhere he went. His quick wit and sense of humour also endeared him to many. He also loved posing for pictures as passengers departed the boats. Jack passed away on January 8, 2004.


“We’ve been kind of overlooked right from the beginning, particularly some of the worthy gentlemen who really had a tough time, like prisoners of war and lads who were ‘fished’ (sunk) two or three times.”

Posted in: History, People
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Bob Graham
Comment by: Bob Graham ( )
Left at: 5:07 PM Thursday, September 15, 2011
A fine tale, beautifully told, about one of those larger-than-life people who pop up now and then, and make their mark upon those who know them.

As always: well done, Captain Brian!
Jack Richmond
Comment by: Jack Richmond ( )
Left at: 6:54 PM Wednesday, April 18, 2012
I sailed with Jack on the Emerillon as an engineer under him and Alex Thorpe. He was a real gentleman and a first rate engineer who never got got too excited with problems as they developed, but methodically went ahead and fixed them. My wife Joan accompanied us to Venezuala a few times and we enjoyed Jeans company on those trips. We were sad to hear of Jacks passing, he was a good man.
Kally Portieous
Comment by: Kally Portieous
Left at: 4:59 AM Tuesday, April 18, 2017
That is such a treasure to have this history for our family. I am Mary Elizabeth's daughter, Kally and most of my favorite memories of my grandfather are tied up with GBL. I too worked on the boats and live in Gananoque, I am reminded of both my grandparents every time I drive by the water front.
Thank you so much for this wonderful article!
Bridget Doolan
Comment by: Bridget Doolan
Left at: 8:53 AM Wednesday, April 19, 2017
I so enjoyed this article and the photos are terrific!
I am a friend and former co-worker of Kally's and enjoyed hearing some of the stories of her grandfather and the GBL as told by Kally. I have also enjoyed being on the line a several times.
Thanks, for keeping this story alive.