The City of Owen Sound is located on the southern shores of Georgian Bay in a valley below the sheer rock cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment. Owen Sound is characterized by a magnificent harbour and bay, two winding rivers, tree-lined streets, an extensive parks system, and tree-covered hillsides and ravines, which are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Owen Sound is the largest urban community in Grey and Bruce Counties, which combined represent a primary commercial market of 158,000. Owen Sound is the seat of the County of Grey government, and is the location for a number of regional, provincial and federal government offices. There are twelve elementary schools, three secondary schools, and six private schools in addition to a Georgian College campus.
Points of interest include four conservation areas (Inglis Falls, Indian Falls, Hibou and Pottawatomi), Kelso Beach and the City’s waterfront trail system, Harrison Park, Grey Roots Museum and Archives, Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Billy Bishop Home and Museum, Owen Sound Marine and Rail Museum and the Farmers’ Market.
The downtown, recently refurbished and reminiscent of the 1900’s, offers an economy that is balanced and diversified. The Heritage Place Shopping Centre on the east side complements the vibrant, scenic downtown core and other arterial shopping areas.
Citizens and visitors can enjoy extensive recreation facilities and opportunities in Owen Sound. The City operated two arenas, and numerous soccer and baseball complexes. Three golf courses serve the City. Excellent boating and fishing are available.
For much of its history, Owen Sound was a major port city, known as the ‘Chicago of the North’. Its location on Georgian Bay gave it access to the upper Great Lakes, and major rail lines moved cargo south from there. Port duties have declined dramatically since the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway allowed shipping directly to the lower lakes and dramatically lowered costs compared to transshipment via Owen Sound.
Being both the gateway to cottage country, and in the heart of Ontario’s beef, apple and corn region, farming and tourism are still integral parts of the local economy and during the winter residents can access thousands of kilometres of snowmobile trails, cross-country skiing areas and downhill skiing clubs.
Wiarton is a community in Bruce County, Ontario, at the western end of Colpoys Bay, an inlet off Georgian Bay on the Bruce Peninsula. The community is part of the town of South Bruce Peninsula, Ontario.
Wiarton is known for the Wiarton Willie Festival, in February each year, when national and international media cover Wiarton Willie and his Groundhog Day prediction. Wiarton began its existence in 1855, when it was surveyed and laid out on lands recently acquired from the First Nations in the area. It was named after the birthplace of Sir Edmund Head, the Governor General of Canada from 1854 to 1861. Settlement first began in 1866, and in 1868, a post office was established.
In 1880, Wiarton was incorporated as a village, then with a population of 750. By 1894, Wiarton had become a town with a population of 2,000, a number similar to its present population of 2,300.
Until 1996, Wiarton was known around Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, as the home of Wiarton Coast Guard Radio, providing continuous weather reports to mariners and residents.
In 1999, Wiarton was administratively amalgamated into the new municipality of the Town of South Bruce Peninsula. Geographically, the town is defined by the rugged limestone cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment (a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve - one of only twelve such reserves in Canada), which bisects the town. The town rests on the picturesque shores of Colpoys Bay, part of Georgian Bay, itself part of Lake Huron, one of the Great Lakes whose waters are shared between Canada and the USA. The town has long been known as the gateway to the Bruce Peninsula, the peninsula separating Georgian Bay from the rest of Lake Huron.
Tourism forms an important part of the town's modern economy, attracting many seasonal visitors to the area's cottages and resorts, and to the town's marina. The Bruce Trail, Canada's oldest and longest footpath, provides public access to the 725-kilometre-long Niagara Escarpment which runs through the town.