Visitors are drawn to the dramatic topography, colourful history and vibrant arts scene in and around Owen Sound.
Located along the Niagara Escarpment and within the Bruce Peninsula, the Owen Sound is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, including magnificent waterfalls, right on its doorstep. Forest trails connect to the city’s Historic Walking Tour, highlighting stories from pioneering days to the Underground Railway. Find your groove in the local live music scene.
To learn more about all there is to see and do in Owen Sound, scroll down or visit the city's tourism website.
Where is Owen Sound?
Owen Sound is easily accessible from each of the compass points. To the south, visitors come to Owen Sound from provincial Highways 6 and 10; the latter was previously known as the historic Toronto-Sydenham Road with just over a 2 hour drive to Toronto. Highway 21 delivers travellers from the west. To the east is County Road 26 as it shadows Georgian Bay with its scenic vistas and smooth roads. Finally, the Georgian Shores Marina provides mooring for private boats along with a friendly boat-community ready to show off Owen Sound’s key feature: water.
Things to Do in Owen Sound
Owen Sound is known for three things: stunning geography, unique history and a burgeoning creative arts scene, especially with live music. Located on the Niagara Escarpment and the Bruce Peninsula,a huge drawcard in the area is the collection of waterfalls located less than 10 km from the downtown Visitor Centre. Inglis Falls, Jones Falls and Weavers Creek Falls are all linked by marked trails and are part of the famous Bruce Trail.
Inglis Falls, in the Inglis Falls Conservation Area, is the largest of the three, with an 18 metre cascade.The Falls are relatively close to the parking lot, with signage leading to viewing areas above and below. You will be blown away by this majestic force of nature surrounded by scenic walks just waiting to be explored. Equally impressive is Jones Falls, a little north of Inglis Falls. With the height of 12 metres, Jones is heard before it is seen, and it needs to be seen to be believed. Continue to follow Sydenham River back to Owen Sound, and you will reach Harrison Park and Weavers Creek Falls.
The history of Owen Sound is just as inspiring as the geography. Start at the Grey Roots Museum & Archives for an overview of the history of Grey County and Owen Sound, including early settlers. During summer, the museum also includes a heritage village with enthusiastic volunteers dressed in 19th-century costumes to recreate life in the village during pioneering days. The Museum also shines a light on other heritage sites in Owen Sound to continue the story, such as the Owen Sound Farmers’ Markets, held in the same location since 1868. Or visit Owen Sound’s Beth Ezekiel Synagogue, one of the few remaining examples of a small-town Ontario synagogue.
The city has a strong reputation for its music scene and performing arts. Check out The Roxy Theatre for local theatre productions and live music performances. Owen Sound is also home to the Georgian Bay Symphony and the Owen Sound City Band, with both performing live throughout the year. For special occasions, buy your tickets early for the annual Summerfolk Music Festival, held in mid-August. Revelers come from far and wide for the three-day festival but they always stay a little longer to visit the waterfalls.
Owen Sound Neighbourhoods & Districts
Owen Sound holds plenty of small-town appeal, but it packs a punch in diversity across its many districts.
Downtown Owen Sound
This area is filled with character and charm. In the summer, the leafy sidewalks are accompanied by vibrant flowers along the city streets. During winter, downtown comes alive with the Festival of Northern Lights sparkling across the shops. Many of the stores take great pride in their heritage and architecture, featuring bright murals and public art on their buildings. Pick up a copy of the Historic Walking Tour to find them all.
Owen Sound Harbour
This area is the heart of the waterfront, serving as the gateway to Georgian Bay and beyond. For marine history buffs, visit the Community Waterfront Heritage Centre with displays on the long history of settlement and marine transport in the area. There are also plenty of places to fish, with some of the world’s largest rainbow trout caught in Owen Sound.
With more than 40 hectares of gardens, playgrounds, streams and hiking trails, it is easy to forget you are still in the heart of the city. The park is also home to an open-air rink and bird sanctuary and resident swans. Within the park is a commemorative cairn to honour the significant Black History of Owen Sound. From 1830 until the end of the American Civil War, escaped slaves made the arduous journey across the Canada-U.S. border through the Underground Railroad. The last “terminal” of the railroad was the Village of Sydenham, which is now known as Owen Sound. It is one of many beautiful features in a city filled with history and community-spirit.
Things to Know About Visiting Owen Sound
Owen Sound is the largest regional centre on the Bruce Peninsula and a great place to base yourself for further exploration. Here are some starting points to launch your next visit.
Where to go for a drink
Mudtown Station Brewery, located by the waterfront, was once a popular railway stop. Renovations have captured small moments in history and depicted them in beautiful heritage-inspired stained glass windows. The theme continues inside, along with a solid menu and a small craft brewery open for tastings each day, a nostalgia touch with a crafty modern twist.
Owen Sound is famous for its annual fishing derbies with plenty of hotspots around the harbour. Rainbow trout is always a favourite while others whisper about the salmon further upstream in Sydenham River.
Last updated: November 24, 2022