Princess Norah was designed for the rugged West Coast of Vancouver Island freight and passenger service. She was a single-screw, single-stack vessel of 2,731 tons, with dimensions of 250.1 x 48.1 x 23. Her reciprocating engines of 2,750 horsepower gave her a service speed of 16 knots. She was equipped to carry 700 day passengers or 179 in 61 staterooms. Princess Norah was a product of the Fairfield yard in Glasgow. She made her maiden voyage in April, 1928, with the Marquis of Willingdon, then governor general of Canada, and many other dignitaries on board.