The City of Owen Sound provides its 22,000 residents a blend of urban and natural attractions. Owen Sound is in part of Grey County, and is "The Hub" of the Grey-Bruce region. The city has plenty of museums, galleries and artists'studios, a live theatrecompany. Shop in unique and charming boutiques, specialty shops and malls. Dine in or out at one of the many restaurants spread throughout the city. It has a full range of accommodation from quality hotels and motels to quaint B & Bs, cottages, fully serviced campgrounds, and rugged unserviced camping on the Bruce Trail.
Wrapped by the Niagara Escarpment, a unique eco-system recognized by UNESCO, the city is only 2.5 hours northwest of Toronto. The shelter (and shade) of the Escarpment makes the area home to 30 species of ferns and 40 species of orchids. Clear blue water, bright sky, great beaches, lush green valleys and rugged limestone cliffs combine to provide great venues for swimming, boating, fishing, niking and climbing, sightseeing and photography.
The Tom Thompson Memorial Art Gallery contains works by regional artists, including the esteemed landscape artist Tom Thompson and various members of the Group of Seven.
Official City of Owen Sound web site.
Business listings for Owen Sound
This area of the upper Great Lakes was first formally surveyed in 1815 by William Fitzwilliam Owen and Lieutenant Henry W. Bayfield. The inlet was named "Owen's Sound" in honour of Admiral Sir Edward William Campbell Rich Owen, the explorer Owen's older brother. The city of Owen Sound was originally known as Sydenham when it was first settled in 1841 by Charles Rankin.
By 1830, British surveyor laid out a road between Oakville and Owen Sound, to connect Lake Ontario to Lake Huron. For two decades of roadbuilding, plank roads proved more cost-effective than macadmized roads, and helped develop the interior of the province. In the 1820s Admiral Henry Wolsey Bayfield was commissioned to survey and map out Lake Huron as well as Georgian Bay.
From about 1830 to the end of the American Civil War, escaped slaves made their way across the Canada-US border via the Underground Railroad. Many headed for the Village of Sydenham (Owen Sound), the last terminal of the Railroad and settled here, finding work and raising families.
In 1869, work beganon the Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway line that eventually terminated in Owen Sound in 1873.
When the Portland Cement manufacturing plant was established in Shallow Lake, the Grand Trunk Railway extended a line into Owen Sound from Park Head on their Stratford-Wiarton route.
The city is birthpace of several famous Canadians, including World War I flying ace William Avery "Billy" Bishop, painter Tom Thomson, who .was the inspiration for the Group of Seven which imortalized Canada's wilderness with their impressionistic styles, and Dr Norman Bethune who healed the sick and wounded with the Chinese People's Army of Chairman Mao
Beth Ezekiel Synagogue
313 11th Street East, Owen Sound
This 1903 building was first occupied by the Calvary Church, and has been home to the Synagogue since 1946. Named for Ezekiel Cadesky, a Russian immigrant who settled here in the early 1900's, the building draws from the tradition of simple, turn-of-the-century Georgian meeting halls. Recently added intricate stained glass windows tell the story of many member families.
Billy Bishop Heritage Museum
948 3rd Ave. West,
Owen Sound, ON, N4K 4P6
(519) 371-0031 Fax: (519) 371-5310
The boyhood home of First and Second World War flying ace William Avery Bishop, BC, CB DSO. A well-preserved example of the Queen Anne Revival style, the house has an eclectic mix of architectural styles, featuring asymmetrical proportions, a variety of window shapes and decorative millwork. The Billy Bishop Museum is the childhood home of the World War I flying ace and recounts early aerial warfare inclduing accounts of some of Bishop's daring battles with the Red Baron and others Memorabilia from peace time and both World Wars are displayed in the exquisitely furnished Victorian home, including pictures of planes, battles, flying suits and a model of the Avro Arrow. Special exhibits throughout the year include a memorable Victorian Christmas. A gift shop has books, cards, model kits, prints and much more. School tours and group discounts can be arranged. Open September to June: Tuesday to Sunday, 12 noon to 4 pm; July & August daily, 10 am to 4 pm. Closed the month of January and closed on weekends in February. Other times by appointment. Admission Fee
Black History Cairn
Harrison Park, 2nd Avenue East,
The Black History Cairn project is an interactive monument site using symbolism and interpretive plaques, the Cairn traces the route of those abducted from their native Africa , forced into slavery in the West Indies and the United States , and how many escaped to Canada in the mid-1800s via a network called the Underground Railroad.
British Methodist Episcopal Church
245 11th St. West
An important centre for the community life of early Black settlers in Owen Sound . Originally built for the Scope Street Methodists in 1889, the church was sold to the British Methodist Episcopal Church for $1 in 1911. The neat building is 40 x 60 feet and veneered with red brick with white facing. Ontario Heritage building since 1989.
Butchart Estate (now a Bed & Breakfast)
919 5th Ave. East
This Queen Anne Revival-style building has a steeply sloped pavilion roof and off-set tower containing curved glass windows, a rarity which add elegance, despite their simplicity. The semi-elliptical fan transom set above a wider door is the hall mark of North American Neo-Classicism.
Carney's Lane, 946 3rd Ave East
Owen Sound Ontario Canada
The world's first and only museum of escape artists and escapology.
Greenwood Cemetery & Mausoleum
190 1st St. S. W.
Greenwood Cemetery is located above a wooded reavine and surrounded by tall stately maples and cedar hedges. The site also includes one of the oldest homes in the City. The 1927 Mausoleum is clad in Indiana Limestone with Italian marble interior and has impressive stained glass windows. It's the only cemetery in Canada to contain 3 Victoria Cross recipients.
Grey Roots: Your Heritage & Visitor Centre
102599 Grey Road 18, R.R. #4 (west of Rockford)
Owen Sound ON Canada N4K 5N6
(519) 376-3690 or 1-800-567-4739
The Centre is home to Grey County 's Museum, Archives and Tourism Services. The timber frame construction suggests a rural barn's structure and uses ledge rock stone as well as maple hardwood found on the Niagara Escarpment. Exhibits including the Award Winning "From Slavery to Freedom" as well as archival and genealogical resources, theatre, café, gift shop, events and more! Tourism Services rounds out the experience as a gateway of information to the many natural wonders of the region. Open in Summer: daily 9 am to 5 pm, and from Labour Day to the Victoria Day weekend: Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm, and weekends 11am - 4pm. Admission Fee
Highland Manor (now a Bed & Breakfast)
867 4th Ave. A. W.
The 7,500 sq. ft Victorian style Highland Manor has Roman arches, striking front edifice, windows and non-matching dormers of varying sizes on all sides of the almost 50 foot high structure.
Inglis Falls Conservation Area
Inglis Falls Road, Georgian Bluffs,
Situated on the outskirts of Owen Sound, the Sydenham River cascades 18 metres over the edge of the Niagara Escarpment. See the remains of former grist, saw and woollen mill complex including the water flume, grinding stones and stone building. Escarpment Centre Ontario has provided interpretative walks and tours of the nearby Inglis Falls Arboretum.
Leith Church & Leith Heritage Cemetery
Follow signs from Ontario Highway 26
PO Box 20, Leith, ON, N0H 1V0
The 1865 brick church was of a very considerable size for that time. With its large rectangular windows, pine box pews and a singular lack of ornamentation, Leith Church truly reflects the austere soul of Scottish Calvinism. A simple granite stone marks the grave of Tom Thomson (1877-1917) in the Leith Cemetery. Thomson drowned in Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park in the summer of 1917. Ontario Heritage Site
Mennonite Church - Salem Hall
Grey County Road 18 & Grey Road 5
(Mennonite Corners), Georgian Bluffs
In 1888, the evangelical United Mennonite Brethren built this architectural landmark of beautifully crafted board and batten on frame building that gave the intersection its name; Mennonite Corners. From 1926 on it served as the Derby Community Club, then Salem Hall. Restoration underway by the Grey Heritage Foundation.
Off 2nd Avenue at 6th Street
This is one of Ontario's first fish ladders, which each April & May bring many rainbow and brown trout who swim upstream to spawn in area streams. From August to October, visitors can view chinook salmon on their spawning runs.
Grey Road 18, Georgian Bluffs
Built by the McCallum family in 1920 as a small country cottage style home. The expansion at the rear was follwing the 1870's Regency Georgian Villa style of architecture. The formal gardens are of a European "architectural" style and include concrete curbs, benches, birdbaths, and more.
Old Grey County Courthouse
1235 3rd Avenue East
The courthouse was the scene of many executions over its 150 years, inlcuding the last public hanging in Canada in 1948. Constructed of rubble stone with a front façade of golden quarried limestone in the Canada West Classical Revival style popular in 1835-1855. A large 2 storey addition to the south end was made in 1885. Ontario Heritage Act designation in 1979.
Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library
824 1st Avenue West
The Library was founded in 1855 in Owen Sound originally as a Mechanics' Institute. The 1911 structure was funded by an Andrew Carnegie grant (former American steel tycoon who funded libraries all over North America), with an addition in 1972. It continues as a full service library for the City and surrounding communities.
Owen Sound Farmer's Market
114 8th Street East
wen Sound, ON N4K 1K8
The Farmer's Market building was built by a private waterworks company, and was purchased by the Town in 1890. This vernacular brick building's most prominent feature is the centre gable with bull's eye vent It is the only remaining structure of the original Market Square (the City Hall and Fire Hall having been replaced after a fire) and was deisgnated a Heritage Site in 1986.
Owen Sound Marine & Rail Museum
1155 1st Avenue West
Owen Sound, ON N4K 4K8
Located in the historic 1932 CN Rail station on the City's west harbour wall, the museum preserves the history of marine and rail transport, and Owen Sound's role in the opening of Western Canada via the Upper Great Lakes. The museum has CNR & CPR rail memorabilia, including a caboose, plus artifacts and photos. Other exhibits include exquisite ship models by skilled artisans, one of two tugs that appeared on the Canadian one-dollar bill, birch bark and dug-out canoes, and shipbuilding industry displays. The building is wheelchair accessible and has free parking beside the beautifully landscaped walkway along the harbour. The gift shop offers a variety of museum memorabilia to remember your visit. School tours and group rates can be arranged. Open June to Thanksgiving - Daily 10 am to 4 pm , and Thanksgiving to May Long Weekend: Tuesday to Friday: 10 am to 4 pm; Weekends: 11 am to 3 pm. Admission Fee
Intersection of 4th Avenue East and 10 thth Street East
This intersection is nicknamed "Salvation Corners" for the four limestone churches that anchor this spot - St. George's Anglican, First Baptist, Division Street and Church of the Nazarene. One block west lies Damnation Corners once the location of four notorious taverns in what was once the last "dry" City in Canada.
Story Book Park
RR#6, 4 km south of Owen Sound, on Story Book Park Rd
Owen Sound, N4K 5N8
(519)-376-2291 Fax: (519)-376-2291
Located right on Niagara Escarpment, the scenic & pleasantly shaded Story Book Park offers many attractions for the family. See Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Hansel and Gretal, Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. Lots of amusement rides, mini-golf, water slides, and a number of unusual animals. The waterslide has a Parks Twister, and Ultraflume, a kiddie mini river, and a wading pool for the young ones. NOTE: bring your Bathing Suits, as Jean and Cotton shorts are NOT permitted on the slides. Admission is $14.25, seniors $9.50, and kids 2 or under free. All Rides, Waterslides are FREE with admission. MiniGolf $1.00
Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery
840 1st Ave. West
The Art Gallery houses the world's third largest collection of Tom Thomson works and is the only gallery designated as a Thomson memorial. Thomson, who grew up in Leith, just north of Owen Sound, and his colleagues in the Group of Seven had a distinctive approach to portraying early 20 th century Canadian landscape. Visit the gallery and celebrate the legacy of Thomson, who grew up in Owen Sound. Open July and August: Monday - Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm; Wednesday, 10 am to 9 pm; Sunday, 12 noon to 5 pm and September to June: Tuesday - Friday, 11 am to 5 pm; Wednesday, 11 am to 9 pm; Saturday/Sunday, 12 noon to 5 pm. Admission by donation.