Owen Sound, the county seat of Grey County, is a city at the base of the Bruce Peninsula, where the Niagara Escarpment pushes northward into Lake Huron. The city has a lot of turn-of-last-century brick buildings and has a lot of history including Group of Seven founder Tom Thompson and First World War pilot/ace Billy Bishop.
The city has a beautiful harbour and bay, has the winding Pottawatomi and Sydenham Rivers, lots of tree-canopied parks and lots of hiking / walking trails. Owen Sound is located at the mouths of the on an inlet of Georgian Bay. The primary tourist attractions are the many waterfalls within a short drive of the town.
Owen Sound Attractions
Billy Bishop Home & Museum
948 3rd Ave West
Built in the Queen Anne Revival Style in 1884, this is the boyhood home of William Avery “Billy” Bishop, World War I flying ace and Victoria Cross recipient. A museum since 1987, it was named a National Historic Site in May 2002. Memorabilia and artifacts 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.
Off 9th Ave East, south of Superior Street (next to an ice cream shop)
Climb the spiral staircase of the Centennial Tower to reach one the highest peaks in Owen Sound, overlooking the city and harbour from the east. The Centennial Tower is right on the Bruce Trail and connects with both Harrison Park and Inglis Falls, passing stunning stone formations and cliff faces. The tower is open from May to early October, closing after Thanksgiving.
Standing atop Inglis Falls, 18 metres above the river valley, where the Sydenham River meets the Niagara Escarpment. From the tops you have a spectacular view of the forests and the bay that surrounds Owen Sound. On a clear day you can see far into the distance to the hills of Kemble Mountain. Accessible year-round. Parking fee in summer and on weekends in spring and fall. From here there are 7.4 km of hiking trails, with access to the Bruce Trail, and link to Harrison Park and Weavers Creek Falls, plus the city’s Centennial Lookout Tower.
Stoney Orchard Park
Park off 23rd Ave. East near Ecole St. Dominique Savio
Treat yourself to an expansive view of the Owen Sound Harbour from Stoney Orchard Park. The Tower is built upon the foundation of Brown’s Lime Works – a lime kiln and quarry. Kilns operated on the site since 1887. Fall colours abound in autumn and the wide, flat trails are easily accessible in winter as well.
The West Rocks Management Area
Ninth Street West or Fifth Street West, 3rd Concession Road (Georgian Bluffs), North of Grey Rd 5,
Owen Sound, ON, N4K 5N6, CA
The West Rocks Management Area follows a stretch of the Bruce Trail along the western ridge of the Niagara Escarpment above Owen Sound. Hike up to the bluffs from 9th Street West, across from Owen Sound District Secondary School, or access the trail from 7th Street West near 7th Avenue West. You’ll pass the site of a former quarry and the open space there allows you to see far across the city and harbour. Wear good walking shoes as the ground is uneven.
Owen Sound Farmers’ Market
114 8th St E, Owen Sound, ON N4K 1K8
(behind Owen Sound City Hall)
The Owen Sound Farmers’ Market is open Saturday mornings year-round in the heart of downtown, in a former waterworks building. The Owen Sound market is one of the oldest in Ontario, with bakers, growers and artisans offering a wide variety of products, from candles, woollens, moccasins, cards, soaps, pottery and freshly caught fish from Georgian Bay to maple syrup and artisan breads, olive oil, baking, preserves and locally roasted coffee.
Owen Sound Harbour
The harbour features art banners in the summer, a visitor centre, waterfront heritage centre, parkland, trails, beaches and boat launches, plus interpretive plaques that highlight Owen Sound’s place as one of the most historically significant harbours on the Great Lakes.
Tom Thomson Art Gallery
840 1st Avenue West
Owen Sound, ON, N4K 4K4
The early years of this iconic Canadian artist were spent in the Owen Sound area. At the Tom Thomson Art Gallery, learn more about his life, view his work, and visit his gravesite in nearby Leith.Built with donations by the Thomson family and A.Y. Jackson, the Gallery had collected several works by Thomson and members of the Group of Seven. The Tom Thomson Art Gallery has its own collection of over 2,600 works of art created over the last 150 years, including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures and craft.
Walking tours are another great way to discover the gems of Owen Sound. Our Historic Walking Tour features four routes: the city’s east side, west side, downtown (with 24 featured stops) and the mill dam area. We also have a Cemetery Tour, summer Ghost Walks and the Corkscrew City Tour, highlighting the City’s wild days of bootlegging and prohibition.
Owen Sound Parks
Hibou Conservation Area
Just north of the Owen Sound on the east side of the bay
A great place to take the family for the two natural sand beaches, the hiking trails and picnic facilities.
Kelso Beach Park
West side of the harbour,
This park has a public beach. Kelso also features a sheltered picnic area and children’s playground.
Weaver’s Creek Valley
just at the edge of Harrison Park
The 300-metre boardwalk allows people to enjoy a little known wilderness area within the City. Weaver’s Creek is one of the most significant tributaries in the Sydenham River watershed, and the site of fish habitat and hatchery operations since 1902.