Proud of our History - the SS Portia

by Darrell Mercer

Marine Atlantic, its predecessor CN Marine, and pre-confederation Newfoundland coastal boats have a strong and proud history serving the people of Atlantic Canada through ferry terminals, passenger vessels and rail service.

In this week’s “Throwback Thursday” blog posting we highlight the SS Portia which serviced Newfoundland coastal communities from 1904-1940.

As part of the late 19thcentury tradition of the Bowring Brothers’ steamship fleet, the vessel was named after a Shakespearean character, in this case from the novel The Merchant of Venice. The sister ship to the SS Prospero, the vessel measured approximately 205 feet in length and was used as a coastal vessel to transport passengers, cargo and mail. The Bowrings operated the vessel under subsidy from the Newfoundland Government until 1924, it was then sold to the Newfoundland Railway who operated the vessel until 1940.

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As always, we welcome your photos for posting in a future blog. Please email your photos to including any facts such as the date and location.

In next week’s blog posting we highlight Lewisporte, NL, an important coastal port dating back to the early 1900s.